ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
The rate at which Africans of my generation are promoting this idea of DNA testing does not only expose the rate of our deviation from the cultural understanding of parenthood, but also calls for concern for what kind of father my generation are or will become.
For a generation that is sold to impressionism and theatrics, it won’t be surprising to discover that many of those who are today, fathers, became one just to show off or because they saw others becoming Dads, and not really because they understood the spirituality and emotionality of fatherhood. Parenthood is not merely the direct consequence of one’s coital enjoyment, but a spiritual, emotional and physical responsibility.
Parenthood is the emotional, moral, physical and spiritual guidance of a child to adulthood. Parenthood doesn’t stop at any point in life, but sexual intercourse ends in minutes and for some people,, seconds. Children produced from donated sperms are not less children than those borne from the normal birth processes. Adopted children are no less children than natural children of a couple and children borne from infidelity are not infidels. The one who indulged in the marital infidelity is the infidel.
Being a patrilineal society, Africans can be conscious about genetic purity and they can be highly protective of family bloodline, but they also appreciate that no child is a mistake. In Igboland for instance, any child borne by a duly married woman belongs to the husband, even though more than 90% of the time, family members and even the community know when a woman begets a child from an extramarital affair, it is forbidden to discriminate against such child on the basis of that.
The true African knows that the beginning of reproductive fidelity is in the choice you make for a wife and even when you might have made a mistake by marrying the woman whose faithfulness is in doubt, you should also know that the best way to take care of the situation is not by punishing the innocent child. You must own the child, but choose what to do with the unfaithful wife.
Nothing repulses more than when a woman or a man’s only or major claim to parenthood is that she had the child in her womb for nine months and suckled him or her for donkey months or that he got your mother pregnant for your birth. These acts are by no means enough in themselves to make you a parent. You are mere tool or instrument through which God brought such child to life, if you did not play your role as a parent, after causing the birth of that child.
Any child who calls you father is your child, especially, if you dutifully, and according to the best of your abilities play the role of a father towards such child. You do not need a DNA test to confirm the paternity of a child with whom you have formed a good bond. No child should be punished for the mistake of his mother or his father. Let everyone bear his cross. If you are unfortunate to have married a woman whom you don’t trust, you must be man enough to take responsibility for your errors and make the needed corrections.
A DNA test would affect the innocent child or children more than the unfaithful, irresponsible woman or the father. So, instead of going for a DNA test, as long as your trust in a marriage has deprecated to the point where you begin to suspect that your wife sleeps with other men or any man, then, take the door, tactically. Stop making children with such a woman, but do the much you can to be the father of your children, except, the woman doesn’t allow you to.
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