Nnamdi Chuks On Raising A Man Of Tomorrow
For many, Father’s Day is easily forgotten. You are most likely thinking, ‘ that is no way to start a Father’s Day story,’ but hear me out. I have no recollection of play dates with my dad, he never attended any of my graduations, and as bold as this may sound, he might have missed my first everything — first word, first step, first game, everything. Yet, in some ways, he was always a part of my life. I grew up knowing him — or at least, of him — I knew his name, his face, his story but above all I knew he was never there and never would be.
As Father’s Day approaches the thought of ‘this day doesn’t even matter,’ lingers from time to time, but it really does matter. My father was never there and though I never resented him I had to learn that my story was not and is not the narrative for all. My, or rather our personal relationships with our Fathers — or lack there of, shouldn’t completely overshadow that there are so many good Fathers around, and Nnamdi Chuks, the founder of Prince & Bond, happens to be one of these men.
Recommended by a friend of mine, I reached out to Nnamdi knowing two things for sure — he is a fashion entrepreneur and he is a damn good father to his 2-year-old son, Israel.
On his relationship with his son:
“Israel is a daddy’s boy. Most people say that boys are usually mommy’s boys but Israel is the total opposite. There is a park in our neighborhood that we visit often to play, and the swing and slides are Israel’s favorites because they are fast, he loves fast things. He really reminds me of myself — being resilient and a risk taker are his two strongest characteristics so far.”
“Nothing prepares you for being a parent, you just have to learn how to do your best everyday. When I first found out I was having a child, I just told myself ‘well let’s figure this out,’ because there was nothing I could do to really prepare myself. I learn a lot from my son, the biggest lesson being patience. I’m not the most patient person but being the father of a 2-year-old humbles you in that way. I can’t be upset with a 2-year-old because he doesn’t listen to me, that’s just not how it works.”
On being a better father:
“Growing up, my father valued the wrong things. He cared more about having the perfect child rather than being the best dad. Everything was about being the best - I had to be the best in my class, have the perfect career and so on, the typical Nigerian way of parenting. I want to approach fatherhood differently than my dad did. My goal is to love and support Israel no matter his career choice or whether he is at the top of his class or not. He needs to be taught valuable things like treating others as he would like to be treated — I want to raise my son to be a man who values people.“
“My relationship with my father absolutely pushes me to be a better father to my son than my father was to me. I was never close with my father, and before Israel was born I used to be scared that we wouldn’t have a good relationship, so I make sure to foster our bond as father and son because that is important to me.”
On the reality versus expectations:
“The reality of parenthood is that it is not easy and I have never met anyone who thought it was easy. Everyday, you have to show up for your child whether you had a good or bad day at work, but seeing the smile on their face when you pick them up from daycare after a long, hard day is the most rewarding. It reminds you why you love being a parent.”