Today marks 4 years since the legend aka my dad said goodbye at a tender age of 92. His tombstone unveiling ceremony was completed end of October 2016. His tombstone reads “Our Beloved Father, Our Hero, A Husband, A Legend, An Avid reader, A Bible Scholar, A Story Teller, A Linguist”. Even though he is not with us in flesh, he is very much present in spirit. For this anniversary, I have chosen to share “some” of the lessons I learned from him.
The very first lesson that anyone who knew him can attest to is that of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. My Dad was a lover of mankind. He was one of those people who knew no stranger, didn’t hold on to grudges and welcomed everyone into his heart. He instilled this love in his 7 daughters and granddaughters. We are so tight and we genuinely love each other. When I think of our family, I feel Joy. Of cause our Queen and Mom Matilda plays a big role as well.
They say that “Power is gained by SHARING not hoarding it”. This is so true of my Dad. He was a life student, always curious and eager to learn more. When he learned something, he couldn’t wait to share. Some grand kids didn’t fancy this quality as they often were on the receiving end of his lectures. One of his favorite books was “The 7Habits of Highly Effective People”. He always shared sections of the book with anyone who would listen. My sister Kanu remembers having long discussions with Dad. One of the quotes that really stuck with her was “Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you.” Thanks for sharing your favorite moment Kanu. It’s no wonder you went on to be a Therapist. You were a good student.
Always give 100%. I learned early on that the worst report I could get from school was can do better. In grade 3, I came in 2nd in a class of 40 students and I couldn’t wait for Dad to get home so I could share my report card. He didn’t care that I was number 2, the teacher had written that I could do better in Math as I had earned 92%. Dad spent the next 20 minutes explaining why I had come short. The teacher believed I could have done better so I had to explain how I would give 100% going forward. It had nothing to do with the score. I apply this lesson to all aspects of my life and I teach my daughter the same. My tennis partners know that after the match, I always say did we give it our all? If yes then we can hold our heads up high.
It’s the little things that matter. I vividly remember Dad sending me to deliver food or some change to a neighbor who was going through a hard time. I also remember asking him why we had to do so when they never reciprocated. His answer was always the same. True giving is when you give without expecting anything back. He used to bet on horse racing: when he won, he would make many people happy no matter how small the win was.
Reading is fundamental – Most of Dad’s knowledge was self learned through reading. He read the newspaper daily, Time magazine whenever he could put his hands on it, Shakespeare, other world newspapers. It’s no wonder he was a student of the English Language.
Believe in yourself. One of the grand kids Amanda who is in Australia remembers Grandpa telling her “You will be Lovely no matter what”. Amanda is now a wife, a mom and going through nursing school and she still remembers this lesson. Growing up in a culture that valued boys more than girls, this lesson was very important as it made us be the confident women that we are today.
Some people live their lives in pursuit of happiness, more often than not, they never find that happy place. Searching for happiness leads to searching for things that give you a temporary rush. True happiness comes from finding your life purpose. or my Dad, it was being a teacher to all. The lessons he taught us made us who we are today.
Maya Angelou said it best when she said “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”. Thank you for letting me share my Lovely Dad’s story.