Yesterday, people in several countries around the world celebrated ‘Father’s Day’. I woke up early last morning to telephone my dad and tell him how much I love and appreciate him and since I could not be around to lavish him with gifts and greetings, I decided to sit down and write about him instead. Almost immediately, my mind raced back to when I was five years old. My dad and I were set to attend a father-son banquet and we were asked to perform a special song. I remember how we practiced for several mornings to sing our version of the Steve Moore and Jim Reeves classic ‘But you love me daddy’. Every morning while my dad tied my shoe laces, slicked my hair back just the way I liked it or knotted my tie, we sang our hearts out. The memory is so vivid in my mind, that evening we wowed the audience with our performance and it will always remain one of my fondest recollections. My dad or papa, as we fondly call him continues to inspire me on an everyday basis. He is and will always be my hero.
When we hear the word hero, it usually conjures up images of super-men with super powers, jumping off tall buildings – sweeping in and saving humanity from villains and all sorts of disasters, but when I hear that word, in my mind’s eye, I see only my dad. The word hero to me is full of more significant subtleties, small, quiet, stable, yet profound ways of making an impact and changing lives on a daily basis.
True heroes put their best abilities forward and use compassion, kindness, empathy, and patience to serve those around them, whether that is the entire world or their immediate family. My father is famous for all of those things and so much more. I only hope that someday I can repay him for all he has done and continues to do for me.
The things I continue to learn from my father are the most important things in life –viable, practical and tangible values: arriving in their proper time exactly when I need them the most. My love for family and respect for people – I learnt that from watching him be such an amazing son and husband. My independence and courage stem directly from the lessons my father has taught me. My patient personality and sense of humor each derived from evenings of communication with him. My love of people comes directly from the manner in which he has treated his friends and family. Without a flinch, a scowl, or a gesture of judgment, my father accepts people as they are, always willing to lavish them with countless ‘second chances’. My wanderlust was inspired by the myriad stories he told and re-told when he returned from the most exotic locales after weeks of hard work and separation from family. My love of reading and my thirst for knowledge are offshoots of his own passion to be a lifelong learner. But most of all I’m so grateful that I know my dad will understand me, I’ve had some of the most frank conversations of my life with my parents. They are the coolest and most wise people I know!
My Dad may not have the super powers that can save the world but he is undoubtedly my hero – he has done some amazing things in his life and I am so proud to call him Dad. He has been supportive without being over bearing. He has offered advice and then stepped back and let us make our own decisions. He has faced trials, personal and professional struggles with dignity and fortitude and through it all has shown me how to be a good man and a fine human being.
Pa, everyday I’m grateful for the fact that you’re my father, my friend and my hero. And even though I don’t say it as often as I should, I love you. So much.
Happy Father’s Day!