Children don’t need phones with Internet — Teco Benson
film director and producer,
Mr. Teco Benson,
shares his fatherhood
Fatherhood for me is a higher call of responsibility. It involves a lot of mentoring; a lot of hard work because every father wants the best for his children.
What has been your greatest challenge as a father?
Sometimes as a father, there are things one wishes to do for one’s children. But because the financial resources are not there, one has to make do with what one has. Also, the society is a problem. There is a way that would lead to a better tomorrow for the children and one makes all the efforts to set them on that path. But the kind of system that we have in the neighbourhood, school, etc, are not helping matters.
One thus needs a lot of extra work to deconstruct the things they pick up in school. You have to be on your guard always. Also, social media has come with a lot of challenges. The cartoons we thought were not corrupt have their own challenges including the movies and several things around us.
How do you discipline your children whenever they act up?
The word of God has always been the key. I always tell them the ‘reason why’ whenever I chastise them for doing anything wrong. I also use myself as an example.
At what age did you become a father?
I married at the age of 30 and by 31, I was already a father.
How did you feel the day you held your first child?
My first child is a boy and I have five children now; all of them are boys. I was really happy the first day I held my first child.
Did you have any preference for a particular gender prior to the arrival of your children?
My heart was open. In the heart of every man, he would want a 50-50 gender of children; like having two boys and two girls or a boy and a girl. As the boys kept coming, my wife felt we would have a girl and that was why they became five. At a point, it became obvious that the will of God cannot be changed. But I have no problem with the gender because my boys are wonderful kids.
What special gift has your family given you in appreciation of your role as a father?
My children are still young because I am not that old. They have not reached the age of buying things to appreciate me. The appreciation I get from them is that when I give them instructions, they get to school, behave well and return with good grades. They also return home to tell me how they resist temptations. That is higher than any kind of gift they can give me. My eldest child is just about to clock 16.
How do you appreciate your wife?
I have appreciated my wife in different ways and I may not able to start mentioning them. She can testify to that including those closer to us.
What do you think about parents having favourite children?
It is very dangerous because it can cause friction in a family. Parents should be parents to all their children because they all have equal rights. Having a favourite child among children can cause sibling rivalry long after the death of their parents. It happened to Joseph in the Bible whom his father made a coat of many colours. It made his brothers jealous and they planned to kill him. Every wise father should be careful not to tread such a dangerous path.
How best do you think parents can monitor their children’s activities on social media platforms?
I agree that social media is a kind of disaster for children. There are some things that young minds cannot control and only adults can. Even some adults do not have self-control not to talk of the young ones.
The best thing parents can do is to also be scientific and Internet savvy. They should give their kids phones with no Internet if they have to use phones at all. It is the duty of every parent to monitor their use of social media. Children discuss a lot of things on social media with their friends.
What is your view on corporal punishment?
I believe so much in discipline. The Bible says, ‘Spare the road and spoil the child.’ If you do not spank at all, it is bad but it must be done in moderation and the children must be told why they were beaten. I love my kids so much and I let them know what they do wrong anytime I discipline them.
What do your children say about your movies?
My children have not seen all my movies but they have watched Mission to Nowhere, Accident and Fast Lane. The questions they ask border on technicalities. If they see a bomb explosion or blood effect, they want to know how I achieved the effect. I thus will explain it to them.
Did you influence their interest in acting?
I am careful not to control their career choices because I believe that every child has a destiny. God has a career plan He wants each person to pursue. Though I will want to see one or two of them show interest in my work but I have been careful not to influence them. They tell me what they want to study in the university. I know that reality will set in by the time they become mature.
What do you wish to do differently as a father?
I have been a meticulous and careful person. I try to reduce my mistakes and do not have any regrets in that regard.
What vital advice do you give your children about life?
I told them that to make it in life, they must be humble. I taught them to respect everybody no matter the person’s status. My late father, Mr. Okoli Benson, was a civil servant who instilled good values in us. He was God-fearing, hard-working and did not believe in much pleasure and leisure. He believed so much in cause and effect; that whatsoever one sows is what one will reap.
There was a day he called me and told me that anything I did would be on me and not on him because he trained me well. He told me that if I listened to him, I would turn out well in life. He added that if I became successful it would be for my own good. He was a kind and good father. I am trying to make my children imbibe the good values and principles I learnt from him.