My dad would have been 91 years old today, had he not gone to meet his maker on 3rd May 2012! He was an inspiring man and I was blessed that he was my dad! An educator, pacifist, conscientious objector and fighter, he was the Rottweiler dressed in sheep’s clothing! Heaven forbid you should come up against him in a tribunal if he was defending some child or teen’s education, and yes his bite was as bad as his bark!
He was also a charming man, charismatic, a performer and singer, with the most beautiful tenor voice that belted out Jamaican folk songs or opera with ease. Handsome was he, as can be seen in photos throughout his life and his beauty was his strength and courage and his conviction that he was born to do the right thing.
As today would have been his day – if he hadn’t been working a 60 hour week which probably led him earlier to his end – I dedicate these tips to us all, to find the best in ourselves and to be great at this thing called life – just like my dad!
- Believe in yourself! Dad didn’t allow doubts to define him and he surrounded himself with people who recognised his strengths and supported him effortlessly.
- Do the right thing! Dad would face up to anyone, anytime. If he was afraid, he didn’t show it but he knew he had to speak up if something was wrong.
- Work hard! No-one will put in what’s needed to make your life great except you! Do what’s needed and do your best.
- Make your life worth something! At every moment of dad’s long and happy life, everything he did had meaning. As a father he led by example; as an educator he looked for the best in you; as a husband I imagine he was hard work, LOL!
- Don’t stop working! Retirement was just a word and when the full time employment with a contract came to an end, dad did something else. He started a charity which allowed thousands of kids and adolescents across the country get help when they needed it.
- Don’t worry about the money! Dad was extremely generous, he would give as if he were the richest man we knew! And he was rich – in spirit – incredibly so.
- Have fun! Dad was a charmer and knew how to give people the time of their lives. He would light up any room and he was friendly to strangers. He said hello to everyone who crossed his path and he always had a smile for the underdog to lift their spirit.
- What will you die for? If it’s believing in a better world where children enjoy their right to an education, then know that you’re here to serve your community and get on with it!
We all have a purpose and sometimes it might look a bit blurry. Maybe our purpose is to just be happy! Dad was a happy man and that came across in all that he did. What he spent his life doing was serving those around him, maybe the secret’s in that. Happy birthday dad!
“Give and you shall receive!”