Be A Man or Be A Father
I read a book recently and it exemplified the topic I am about to discuss. For some reason, I cannot remember the title. In trying to remember, it has held me back from writing. So today without remembering the reference, I give myself permission to go ahead. Liberating!
So it was a real-life story set in the 50s/60s when racial issues were red hot in America. The narrator of the story saw his father being harassed by men of another race. He was surprised that his father backed down as that was not his character. That scenario baffled him and stayed with him until adulthood.
Then one day, many years down the line, he asked his father why he backed down.
His father told him that he remembered that day very well and wondered why it took him so long to ask. Then he went on to tell his son that his son was responsible for his behaviour that day. The son was surprised and asked for further expatriation.
His father told him that while the harassment was going on, he sighted his son and when he did that he took a decision in a split second — whether to be a man (stand for his right) or to be a father (back down and be alive). He took the former decision — to be alive — because he felt his son needed his presence and guidance in life.
There was silence between the two men — one all grayed and feeble and the other in his midlife. The son thought about what his father just told him and saw that his father had much more care and concern for him than he ever thought about.
Yes, our fathers may not be as demonstrative as we want them to be. They may not hug us as other parents do. They may not attend all our school activities as you may want them to. But however, most times, we are always in their thoughts. At times, they feel guilty that they cannot do more than what they are currently doing.
Recently I had a chat with my Dad and we went down memory lane. He told me one of the saddest days of his life was when he escorted this executive to shop for his kids. He said the man took out time to shop for all his kids. There were about 5 of them. The man picked out choice stuff and paid and he went with him to drop it at his house. The kids were happy. My Dad then went on to tell me I wondered when that would ever be me doing that for my kids. He told me he was sad for a while but then he realized that all fingers were not created equal.
It is called the inability factor — when you know what is good and right but you cannot execute. Most fathers find themselves in that shoe and sometimes cannot manage their emotions thereafter. They fall into the trap of self-condemnation which leads to self-doubt which spirals into depression. Sometimes these men just elope and disappear.
This real-life story is also seen in what Paul writes to the Philippians. Hear him.
Sometimes I want to live, and at other times I don’t, for I long to go and be with Christ. How much happier for me than being here! But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! Yes, I am still needed down here, and so I feel certain I will be staying on earth a little longer, to help you grow and become happy in your faith; my staying will make you glad and give you reason to glorify Christ Jesus for keeping me safe when I return to visit you again.
As we go on in life, we must always remember what is priority — to prove a point or to focus on the main thing while momentarily losing a battle in order to win the war.
Let’s keep the main thing, the main thing.
Today is father’s day, please let me hear about our fathers and how they have fathered us, especially the sacrifices they have made to build and mold us to who we are today. Be blessed.
As a bonus, I will tell you another story about my dad. Infact two stories.
One was when I was sick unto death in 1989. I had a fever as a child would but before I knew it, I started bleeding uncontrollably from my nose. The bleeding defied every medical intervention. Before I knew it I was taken to the Primary Health Centre. If you know the house I grew up in, going to a hospital (Primary Health Centre) was as good as dealing with a terminal case. Why did we not go to hospital…hehehehe…are you asking? There was no money to spare talkless of “donating” it to any nurse or doctor 😂
When the matter had passed “be careful” and growing worse, I was taken to the Teaching Hospital. Then everyone panicked. My dad was taking me there daily for treatment but nothing worked. I was finally admitted. Prayers were held for me.
My Dad was staying with me in that hospital. It was awkward. The only man in a children's ward (most kids were catered for by their mom). The issue was miraculously resolved. Till date no one could say what really happened but God delivered me. My dad was there with my throughout that journey.
The other instance was in 1997. I wanted to read Engineering. Unfortunately, my home university, UNICAL, did not have engineering and for some reasons, UNIBEN came up on the radar. I was persuaded but did not know the implications of my persuasion. When it was time to check for the admissions update (recall there were no mobile phones, you could not transfer money and hotels were expensive — the trifecta of discouragement), my dad had to go to Benin without knowing anyone there. He took a night bus going to Lagos and highlighted at UNIBEN gate. As he told me it was about 3 am. He went up to the security men and told them his mission. Thankfully they believed him and gave him a place to lay his head on the concrete blocks. He involuntarily became a part of the security personnel for 3 days.🤣 That was how he went through it for three days before he could locate someone who knew him and helped out.
Today I am a graduate of Chemical Engineering, an MBA holder from Duke Fuqua Business School, a TEDx Speaker, a Supply Chain Professional etc ( I know I am humble bragging — my life changed the day I found that word🤣 . All these were made possible by the labours of my parents, teachers, mentors, friends, opportunities, life circumstances etc.
Sacrifices…that is what fathers do. Some acknowledged and some not. But all in all, for the next generation to have light in life, we must build the moral and social infrastructure for them to ride on.
Thank you for all the father figures in my life. I am because you are.
Here are my other articles Possibilities & The Law Of Recognition, Possibility II: The Curious Case of Bassey & Word Problems, Possibilities III: “I Have A Dream” , Possibilities IV: Driving and Possibilities 5: Life In Reverse. You can check out my other works on personal development Asking, Managing Access In Relationships How To Ask, Authenticity, Life Skill: The Power of Saying “No”, Start Off; Look Up & Pedal Hard, 12 Unforgettable Leadership Lessons From The Lion King, InBuilt, Now I Arise, Life Hack: Accountability, Life Hack: Simplicity, Life Hack: Making Impact, Built In Failure, The Beautiful Art of Small Talk , The Nameless Brand, “R” For Resilience and Until It Dawns On You. I also reviewed The Lion King and wrote about Movies That Shaped.
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