The Pilgrim’s Pensieve #13

The Man I Want to Be

In this series I have often talked about my influences, particularly people who have shaped my understanding of things that are important me. Today, being Father’s Day, I want to mention my greatest influence, my dad.

I remember a couple of years ago sitting in my dad’s car with a couple of other people. Whiles we were waiting for my dad to meet to come so we could move we had some little chit chat going. Then one of them, a former student of my dad’s asked me if I was his son. I said yes and she told me it was the way I spoke that gave me away. Others have told have since told me we speak alike but that was the first time it really stuck me how much I am like my old man.

Growing up in community where you live in the same area as your dad’s colleagues is quite interesting. You certainly don’t want to trumpet whose son you are in the community school and you don’t want to seem as if you are just milking off your dad’s reputation. In this kind of environment, particularly as a teenager, it makes you unconsciously distance yourself from your father and try to establish your own identity. I found it sometimes a bit irritating when people judged me through the lens of my dad because in my mind we were two completely different people and beyond biology I thought we had little less in common. How wrong I was.

The thing is when you spend so much time with someone it is easier to see the differences. An outsider is often better able to see the similarities and with my dad there are many, some of which I might never notice. Accepting things based on good reason, enjoying debate and discussion, dissecting issues and asking questions, a love for wide reading and learning, a sharp, sometimes sardonic, sense of humour, and a passion for sports among other things are all qualities I have inherited from him.

He often used to say to me that not many fathers do what he does. As I have grown older I have better understood why Father’s Day is far less popular than Mother’s Day. In my opinion men need the example of a father. I confess I am not a model son but when I look at him, I see the kind of man I want to be. Sometimes our relationship hasn’t been easy, as many father-son relationships are, and there are still some challenges. But he has never given up on me and that implicit faith and unflinching support, is something no one else in the world can give me.

Without my father I wouldn’t be the person I am today and more importantly I cannot be the man I want to be tomorrow. I thank you dad for teaching me the meaning of manhood, responsibility and family. The biggest thanks I can give you, is to someday make you proud. I am, and will always, be proud of you. God bless you daddy.

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