Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lessons for the Next Generation

I do not have a child talkless of a son to begin with, but I can speak of what values were passed on to me by my father. In many respect I am not my father's son. He is emotional, I am dubiously logical. He tends to be pragmatic, I am more idealistic. Dad is also prohibitively moralistic, I am more accomodating. But I am also his son. I was shaped by his stories, his lessons and his thoughts. Dad taught me growing up to perceive new information through the objective prism but never shy away from making up my mind and sticking with it -letting others know clearly where I stand; he asked that I strive to learn new things and to try as much as possible to incorporate a common sense view to life problems. He fostered debate at home: I remember at nine engaging in mind numbing intellectual debates on socialism vs. capitalism with dad. He always would allow you speak your mind, and argue your way through everything: and I mean everything. That lesson have shaped me to this day.

He also taught me the lessons of not compromising and being principled. Dad is perhaps the most principled man I know that walks the surface of the earth today: and I am not exaggerating. I remember when we lived in Warri back in the day, and the transformer blew out one phase of the electricity. While the half of the street went without light, donations were quickly made to bribe NEPA officials to come fix the transformer: dad refused to pay. I mean, this was a pariah move. In any case, food was going bad in the freezer, and mom wished light be restored in a quick fashion. Like the neighbors she procured an electrician to switch phases on the light pole. Dad met them midstream of the process and forced the electrician down: considering the act illegal and tampering with government property. Mum was furious, but she knew the man she married. Never compromising, astutely principled and single minded once his mind is made up. These were the lessons handed down to me by dad: always root for the little guy, stand up for the oppressed even when it doesn't pay to do so, have a sense of right and wrong: and always be on the side of right, never look down on others, treat everyone equally, and never take yourself too seriously. These lessons I learnt from the Old man...his laugh is also the most infectitous one only rivalled by mine. Perhaps I am my father's son afterall.


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