On May 9th 2018, my father passed away; life will never be the same. Speaking and writing about him have been tools I’ve used to heal.
Growing up, you never really want to listen to what your parents say; with my dad, I had no choice.
My father always wanted to prepare me for the real world; he didn’t want anyone to tell me anything about life that he hadn’t already.
I was about 6 years old when my dad walked me through the streets of the South Bronx and pointed out dope bags and crack vials. He said, as I vividly remember: “they may offer you something like this with cartoon characters and smiley faces on it; it’s drugs, don’t take it from them.” This was my dad’s Say No to Drugs PSA. My father knew about the damaging effects of drugs first-hand.
These were typical conversations with my dad and l; they were raw, honest, and unadulterated!
Along with the life lesson on drugs, my father taught me so many other lessons that have molded me into the woman I am today!
Here are 7 Lessons I Learned from My Father:
1. Always look people in the eyes when you are talking to them.
I rarely wear sunglasses and have a hard time talking to people when they’re wearing them because of this lesson. My father used to give me hour-long lectures and I would be forced to look him in the eyes the entire time.
This taught me: how to be attentive
2. Never lie; he despised lying.
I remember getting a spanking because he thought I lied about pressing the button for the elevator (it was taking too long for him). I can laugh now because he really didn’t believe me.
This taught me: the value of honesty.
3. Build a relationship with God.
This was something my dad stressed much later in life to me. One of the last things he said was: ” I am not your god, God is! ” He knew he was going to pass and he wanted me to be prepared.
This taught me: How to prioritize building my relationship with God.
4. The importance of silence.
My dad used to pride himself on taking time to be silent. He stressed this to me.
This taught me: To shut up sometimes.
5. A man is supposed to provide for his family.
My dad struggled with leaving his last job, although very sick, because he wanted to be able to provide for his family. He took pride in taking care of his responsibilities!
This taught me: To value men.
6. Allow the man to take the lead.
One day, we went out to eat and I pulled the door open for myself; he joked ” You’re single because you’re too aggressive.”
This taught me: To be comfortable with allowing the man to take the lead.
7. Your record follows you and often precedes you.
My father had this thing about correspondences in black and white. He would say: “once it’s on paper, in black and white, it follows you. This was his way of saying: “stay out of trouble”. Thank God my weekly detention slips were on pink and yellow paper.
This taught me: Don’t let my father read the letters sent home from school.
There’s so much more to share but I’m afraid I’ll have to save it for my book. I’m healing from my loss “one day at a time” and I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.