Young Bahamian father writes timely book on responsible fatherhood
Yet another Bahamian has”put pen to paper” and produced an interesting book!He is none other than Andrew K. Coakley, Bahamian journalist, serving in an editorial capacity at one of our newspapers. And the title of his contribution to the rapidly growing store of Bahamian literature is”My Son, Listen To My Words and Live.”
This 140-odd page book is written in a simple, direct style, which is entirely in keeping with its didactic nature. Moreover, the writer demonstrates the ability to maintain the attention of the reader literally”from cover to cover.”After all, who is not interested in literary works which are family oriented?If there is one word that may be used to describe this book it is”useful.”
It is most important to emphasize that the teaching and principles highlighted are solidly based on the Bible. For, although, strictly speaking, this is not classified as a religious book, it certainly draws heavily upon the Bible, especially the book of Proverbs. This is not surprising as the book of Proverbs is filled with words of wisdom directed to young people, exhorting them to practise the cardinal virtues essential for moral and spiritual growth.
What gems of wisdom, then, are to be found in this book?
Well, first there is the warning that diligence is essential for success in life. Thus, at the very beginning the author declares bluntly:”my son, let me begin by being frank and up front with you. Life is tough. There are a lot of rules to follow and apply if you hope to succeed in this maze called life.”(p. 2).
The writer places high priority on integrity in the chapter entitled”Becoming a Man of Your Word.”Calling upon his sons to exercise integrity he describes it as”when what you say lines up with what you do.”Here, as indicated, he seeks biblical warrant in the book of Proverbs:”the integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the willful contrariness and crookedness of the treacherous shall destroy them.”Proverbs 11:3.
Then, the writer, as may be expected, also places very high priority upon education. This is in keeping with the exhortation of the wise men to their students to seek to attain wisdom(Proverbs 8-9). He urges his sons to work hard in school, making no excuses for poor performance. Thus he concludes the chapter about pursuing a career with the dictum”my son, take your education seriously and make up your mind to excel in every class you take”(p. 43).
Again, as may be expected, the writer has a lot of advice to give to his sons on all matters pertaining to relationships with the opposite sex. Here he sticks to the traditional moral values based on the teaching of the Bible. Accordingly, all forms of promiscuity are to be avoided, with intimate sexual relationships to be limited to marriage(p 92-98). With regard to the latter, he advises:”look for a girl who is willing and determined to improve herself on a regular basis. Also, look for a girl who is tough and disciplined.”(p. 82)
Respect for elders, including parents and persons in authority, is strongly championed throughout this contribution. The writer emphasizes that respect for parents is essential for a disciplined society and progress in”all walks of life.”
It is high time that many more men”step up to the plate”and become more involved in the discipline of our young men. Were this to be done, we would see a dramatic improvement in the behavior of our young men, and”in the long run”a real reduction in crime. If this book on fatherly discipline by a young Bahamian father contributes to this most worthy objective, then it would have fulfilled the noble purpose of its author. While directed to men, particularly fathers and their sons, it should be read by Bahamians in all walks of life. Get your copy today!A useful Christmas gift.