Fatherhood: The unsung crucible of leadership

by Church Times

By Oyewole Sarumi PhD

Leadership is often associated with boardrooms and battlefields, with figures wielding power and influence. Yet, a far more profound and enduring leadership role unfolds daily within the intimate space of the family: fatherhood. Here, away from the public eye, fathers forge the character and potential of future generations.

Nelson Mandela once said, “[A] good father is as important to his children, especially the boy, as the mother.” Unlike traditional leadership roles, fatherhood offers a continuous, hands-on experience where actions and decisions directly and enduringly impact the lives of others – specifically, one’s children.

This piece explores how fatherhood embodies the core principles of transformative leadership, shaping children’s lives in ways that ripple outwards, impacting society as a whole.

Giving in New testament

Dr. Oyewole Sarumi

1. The Crucible of Influence

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

A father’s influence extends far beyond the provision of food and shelter. He is a constant presence, shaping his children’s values, mindset, and outlook through daily interactions.

He embodies moral principles like honesty, integrity, and perseverance, not just through words, but through his actions. This “teaching by example” leaves an indelible mark, influencing their choices and guiding them toward becoming well-rounded individuals.

John Quincy Adams captured this beautifully: “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.” Fathers, through their leadership, provide both the grounding principles and the encouragement to soar.

2. Leading by Inspiration

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren G. Bennis

Great leaders inspire others to be their best selves. Fathers do this not through grand pronouncements, but through the quiet strength they display in everyday life. Children learn by watching how their fathers navigate challenges, pursue goals with resilience, and treat others with respect. So, “Leadership is doing what is right when no one is looking.” – George Van Valkenburg.

This consistent display of positive action nurtures a sense of purpose and ambition in children, urging them to reach for their dreams.

As John Wooden said, “You can’t live a perfect life, but you can live a life of purpose.” Fathers set the tone for a purposeful life, inspiring their children to reach for their goals.

Nurturing Growth: A Leadership Responsibility

“Do not underestimate the power of your presence. You are the bridge between where they are and where they can be.” – Misty Copeland

Effective leadership recognizes the potential in others and nurtures their growth. Fathers play a crucial role in creating a supportive environment where children can explore their interests, learn new skills, and express themselves freely. They are active listeners, offering guidance and opportunities for development. By nurturing their children’s emotional, intellectual, and social growth, fathers empower them to become confident and competent individuals.

This quote from Forest Gump encapsulates it all. “One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank balance was, the size of the house I lived in, or the type of car I drove. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.”

4. Empowering Independence: The True Mark of a Leader

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

Leadership is not about control; it’s about empowering others. Fathers understand this principle. They equip their children with essential life skills, encourage them to make responsible decisions, and gradually grant them greater independence. This encourages self-efficacy, the belief in one’s ability to succeed. By entrusting their children with autonomy while offering unwavering support, fathers enable them to become capable and confident individuals. That is why Peter Drucker opined, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Fathers, through their leadership, guide their children to explore different paths, fostering independence without sacrificing support.

5. Serving and Uplifting: The Heart of Leadership

“True leadership is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in your charge.” – Simon Sinek

At its core, leadership is about service. Fathers embody this by prioritizing their family’s needs and well-being above their own. This service manifests in countless ways: providing emotional support, ensuring physical safety, and being a constant source of encouragement.

At its heart, leadership is about service. “It is not what happens to you that matters, but how you react to what happens to you.” – Epictetus

Through this selfless dedication, fathers elevate their children, helping them reach their full potential and inspiring them to lead with the same commitment to serving others.

Theodore Roosevelt believed, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Fathers, through their service, elevate their children, helping them reach their full potential and aspire to lead with the same selflessness and commitment.

Strategies for Exemplary Fatherly Leadership

1. Be Present: Dedicate time and emotional energy to engaging with your children. Listen actively, participate in their lives, and show them they are valued.
2. Model Positive Behavior: Children are keen observers. Demonstrate the values and behaviors you want them to embrace.
3. Encourage Open Communication: Create a safe space for open and honest conversations. Encourage your children to express themselves freely.
4. Empower Problem-Solving: Instead of offering immediate solutions, guide your children through the process of finding their own. This fosters critical thinking and independence.
5. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate even small victories. This positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and motivates them to strive further.
6. Teach Accountability: Instill a sense of responsibility by teaching your children to take ownership of their actions.
7. Be Patient and Compassionate: Parenting involves challenges. Approach mistakes with understanding and patience, fostering resilience and growth.


Fatherhood is not simply a biological role; it is a crucible of leadership. It demands continual self-improvement, unwavering commitment, and a deep love for one’s children. By embracing the principles of transformative leadership, fathers leave an enduring legacy on their families and society at large. They shape the future generation, equipping them with the tools they need to become strong, compassionate, and responsible individuals who can lead with the same dedication and integrity they witnessed in their fathers. As Nelson Mandela aptly said, “A good father is one of the most unsung, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”

Blessings 💯❤️

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