Happy Father’s Day!
To all the wonderful men holding it together, working round the year and making sacrifices to provide their families with basic necessities, give their children an education and raise them to become responsible adults through care, nurture and discipline, we celebrate you today! I am privileged to have been fathered by a well-grounded man, one I believe God chose, along with my mother, for the very purpose of preparing me for life. And on this special day, I would like to share three lessons my father taught me.
Before going further, it is worth mentioning that my father is not one given to many words. I do not recall many instances when my father gave us long admonitions. He was and is, a classical example of one who is “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry”. So, my lessons come from his few words and many actions over the past few decades. These lessons have become more valuable as I make progress in life, having become a husband and father myself, experiencing firsthand the many sacrifices that come with true fatherhood.
Lesson One: Patience is the greatest virtue. “Ni suuru” was my father’s default response to any agitation or grievance within the house. Whether it was sibling quarrel or disobedience to parents, his first reaction is always to calm things down before trying to determine who was right, what was wrong or how to move forward. Even in his own life journey, he has exemplified patience in pursuit of his goals, taking a step at a time, and trusting God that things would work out fine. And I have seen the reward and wisdom of his patience in many ways.
Lesson Two: Always listen to every side of the story. I learnt from my father the value of getting different perspectives before making a judgment or taking a position on an issue. He helped me appreciate merit in multiple perspectives. As I have developed my own world view through the years, this lesson has not only stayed with me but has become a cornerstone of my thinking process. I am always asking myself what knowledge or information I am missing, that may help me understand issues better or make decisions better.
Lesson Three: Consistency is the key to discipline. As a youngster, I saw my father rise early to study his Bible on many days. I would wake up early in the morning to ease myself just before I caught that last bout of sweet sleep and find him in the sitting room with the lights on, poring over his Bible or some other book. Those memories have stayed with me since then, and they have taught me that the only way to develop discipline is to do the same thing repeatedly. You must make time for the things that matter, and you must keep doing them.
Of course, this is just a brief introduction to the wealth of wisdom I have garnered over the years from my Dad. It is also a reminder to me that one of the greatest legacies I will leave behind are children whose lives have been formed by my instruction and example as I live out my purpose. This brings me to my closing point: fatherhood is not primarily about biological parenting – it is about protecting, leading, instructing, and correcting with understanding and love, while being a role model. In this light, I have been fathered by many men, and I hope to pay it forward with others.
Once again, Happy Father’s Day!!!
P.S. “Ni suuru” means “Be patient” or “Calm down” in my native Yoruba language.