Knox Daniel is the adoptive father of Joshua Beckford, who’s listed among the top 30 most remarkable people in the World with Autism and has impacted in society on The Illumination Foundation website `We the Spectrum` in North Carolina, USA. He is also the youngest person ever to complete a course in Philosophy and History at Oxford University (OLP) on-line learning Platform at the age of 6. He wants to be a neurosurgeon and taught himself to perform complex surgical operations on Microsoft Surgery Simulator.
Knox Daniel has lived in the United Kingdom for the past 53 years. He was born on the Island of Grenada in the Caribbean and graduated from the University of North London with a B. A. Philosophy Degree specializing in Political Theory and Symbolic Logic. He also holds an MBA in Non-Profit Sector Management from the University of East London.
Knox has spent the last 40 years researching and lecturing on Classical African Civilization. Knox was a District Manager for 11 years with World Book International, an American Publishing company for Educational reference materials which operates in 40 countries. In 1992, he was the winner of the Top District Manager for Britain and Ireland. He also won an International Award for his work in the field of Education in Istanbul, Turkey.
He previously worked as a Management Consultant and managed Ealing Community Resource Centre which was an innovative £10m Resource Centre based in West London offering state of the art shared office space to 20 U.K. Charities.
Knox coauthored his first book “BEYOND LIMITS” with his adopted son. Beyond limits is the story of an incredible journey of a father and son who broke some of the perceived barriers of autism to become a global positive role model and inspirational Mentor to children everywhere.
In this interview with Ola Akinwe on the BMAN LEGENDARY FATHERS, Knox Daniel shares thoughts and experiences on how he is raising his outstanding son, Joshua Beckford, who currently serves as Low Income Families Education (L.I.F.E) Support Ambassador for Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and the United Kingdom [UK]. Joshua has received 14 National awards in the United Kingdom and was honored by the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Governor of Ondo State, Nigeria, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN in 2019.
FEELINGS OF HAVING A BOY CHILD
I was overjoyed at the prospect of having to raise a boy in our case we adopted a baby boy as our first two children were girls. Its been the most incredible journey learning together and making a difference for children globally.
BONDING WITH A BOY CHILD
From birth in our case from 10 months old. This is important for fathers as most usually leave this responsibility up to mothers. Of course, mothers tend to spend more time with children in terms of providing both physical emotional and spiritual care. However, Fathers need to make time to share this important responsibility. There are various things such as it is only a man can teach a boy how to be a man. Responsible men need to model how to be a man by practical demonstration of actions. The need to teach their sons by example their future roles. For example, nonviolence never cause physical and emotional abuse of women. Respect women as equal partners ensure that you communicate in appositive way with women and value their opinions. Never treat women as slaves, property and second-class objects. Men should let women have the opportunity to excel in the skills which they naturally possess. Men should refrain from embarrassing women in public. Men should share domestic tasks should as changing nappies, bathing children, cooking, teaching, making time to play with children and answer their questions. Also teach that its O.K. for men to cry and talk about their feelings. Men also need to teach their sons negotiation and conflict resolution life skills whether in the playground, street, home, or workplace. Teach boys that its O.K. to walk away from a fight if it could save their lives. Teach boys that they do not need weapons to prove that they are men.
EARLY BONDING ACTIVITIES WITH BOY CHILD
I carried our son-were making time to play with our son, talk to him, read to him from an early age and always make time to answer his questions. I helped to change his nappies, feed him bath him. And teach him early. I taught him to be confident and respectful and exposed him to his African culture from an early age. I taught him that its O,K to make mistakes and it’s not a weakness to say sorry when he makes a mistake. I also taught him that he can achieve anything he wants to but always to be humble and show empathy for other human beings. I also taught him to always strive to tell the truth, be self-disciplined and keep promises.
BONDING ACTIVITIES CONT’D
I make time to talk and listen too his concerns. We go out together to do boys activities, play games together and laugh together. I give him lots of hugs day and night. Ensure that he had adequate amounts of food clothes and shelter. That he makes friends and has a good life.
ENGAGEMENT YOU HAD TO GIVE UP WHILE RAISING YOUR SON
Yes, I eventually had to give up full time work to help my wife who became extremely ill. I had to give up some of my hobbies and social activities.
HABITS FATHERS SHOULD GIVE UP TO SERVE AS A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL
Never smoke and drink alcohol in front of children, swear and talk down to women. also tell lies
COPING WITH BOY’S RESTLESSNESS
I kept him occupied daily with lots of activities. Board games, reading playing, attending children s parties, cinemas and allow him to play 14 different sports and well as develop his talent as an artist and sculptor
MODELLING EXPECTED BEHAVIORS IN BOYS
I always try to show him by my own behaviors. Sadly, many fathers think that they need to threaten and discipline or punish their sons into demonstrating good behaviors. violence leads to more violence. If you hit a child, you are showing them that they need to hit their wives and children to behave appropriately.
My parenting sty lei has always been to lead by example. I never ask him to do something that I am not prepared to do myself.
PEER PRESSURE OR NEGATIVE INFLUENCES FROM FRIENDS
I try to show him what are the qualities of a friend so that he can choose wisely. I try to show him that he is a leader and do not need to follow what others are doing particularly if its negative. If he wants something, I teach him that he needs to save up some of the money he has earned to help buy it. Also, I show him that its not good to want everything that his peers want or are doing.
DISCIPLINE THE BOY CHILD
I have learner quite early that it is better to model good behavior rather than punish a child physically and emotionally to behave appropriately. I teach him methods of Self-discipline. He must set his alarm to get up on time. Make his bed, do his personal care, make is breakfast and help with household chores. If he does a good job, he gets a treaty or financial reward
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT CRUCIAL IN RAISING THE BOY CHILD
Birth to 5 years old as this is the unique window of opportunity to enable good habits and expose children to the maximum learning opportunities. This is because their brain goes through the fastest growth in development.
HELPING BOYS TO MAKE AND KEEP COMMITMENTS
I always taught himself discipline and that if he makes a commitment, he must make every effort to deliver on that commitment. I never force him to do things. I exposed him to many areas of knowledge at an early age so that he will have many choices of what he wants to do.
MOTIVATION AND SPEAKING WITH BOYS WHEN THEY DO SOMETHING WRONG
I have taught him that he needs to motivate himself by aspiring, setting long term goals, medium term goals and short-term goals. I taught him to write down those goals and tick them off as soon as he has achieved them. Then he replaces them with new goals. I speak to him in a positive wat when he makes a mistake and show him that its O.K. to make mistakes. But he must learn from the mistakes to not repeat the mistakes.
MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE WITH HIS SON
We have memorable experiences continually as we do events nationally and internationally to inspire others and help make the world a better place. My two most memorable experience to date was travelling to Nigeria to participate in the Father and Son Together Conference in Lagos and seeing our son honored in front of 7,000 people by the President of Egypt at the World Youth Forum in Egypt for his Humanitarian work
ADVICE FOR YOUNG FATHERS RAISING BOYS
My advice for young fathers raising boys is lead by example. Teach your sons how to be men. Take responsibility for being a parent it is the most important job in the world because you are helping to create the future. Parenting does not come with a manual and we do not get paid a salary for doing this most important job. But if it is done well the rewards are priceless. Even if you had a bad childhood that does not mean you need to repeat the mistakes that your father made. Its possible to learn from others who are making a success of it.
We plan to resume travelling to more countries around the world as soon as the global lock down has ceased. Increase our global fund-raising activities to complete more projects that will make a difference to disadvantaged children.
Ola Akinwe is a Philanthropreneur, Literacy Activist and Boy-child Social Revolutionist. He is the founder of Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network (BMAN). A registered Non-Governmental Organization offering mentoring, training, coaching, support system, success development programs to guide boys and adolescent males on their journey to a healthy, caring, respectful and responsible manhood. He has been passionately equipping, inspiring and teaching young minds to love, learn, live and leave a legacy of an exemplary life since 2007. Ola is a NIGERIA COORDINATOR-International Men’s Day and NIGERIA COORDINATOR -World Day Of The Boy Child. Ola currently serves as the Nigeria Executive- Fathers and Family coalition of America (FFCA
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