The Father I Never Knew But Always Loved

There are no photographs of my father, but in my mind he stands tall, light brown and handsome. There are no tape recordings of his voice, but I admire his intelligent and humorous speech. Thanks to the positive mental portraits my family members helped me paint.

He Stands Tall

Photo by TPorter2006
Photo by TPorter2006 | Source

Perhaps the greater impact on a child’s attitude and behavior is the child’s love and respect for the father rather than the father’s presence or absence. This is not a suggestion to create fanciful, heroic tales about deadbeat dads, but an appeal to consider the child’s need to respect fatherhood.

We all know the family in which the father’s presence hardly makes a difference. Eventually, it’s what the children think about him that makes them decide whether or not they want a relationship with him. Except in the unfortunate situation where a child was conceived by an unknown rapist, the child deserves to hear something positive about the father.

The statistics presented by SPARC suggest (among other situations) that children from fatherless homes are:

20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders

9 times more likely to drop out of school

20 times more likely to end up in prison

Is it possible that there could be some damage control if the children were taught to forgive their fathers and to love and respect them for whatever measure of good there was in them?


Love and Respect Are Necessary

My father died in a motor vehicle accident in his early twenties. As an adult, I was privileged to meet the pastor who presided at my father’s funeral. The pastor seemed happy to meet his friend’s baby all grown up, and he told me only positive things about the deceased. However, years earlier when he comforted my father’s siblings, he told them that my father had a certain character weakness that might have ruined his life had he lived longer.

The pastor’s opinion may or may not be true. It doesn’t matter. My father’s family took comfort in the thought that death might have relieved him from self-destruction. By the time they explained it to me, my pride in having him for a father was already established. My compassion and forgiveness overpowered any negative feeling which might have surfaced had I not already developed love and respect for him.

Knowledge of my father's imperfection reminds me to add some humanity to the image in my mind; and it doesn't prevent me from dwelling on the life-enriching treasures that he left me.

Below are four of his valuable lifetime gifts to me.


(1) Family Support

My father's siblings supplemented my mother’s efforts to meet my needs. I looked forward to spending time with them. My cousins satisfied my need for siblings. When my aunts migrated to foreign countries, I received countless packages. They sent me foreign currency all through my high school years.

On her eightieth birthday, his only remaining sister invited me to cruise the Caribbean with her, her children and grandchildren. Talk about a sense of family, of love, of belonging! I credit my father for a lifetime of love.

Caribbean Family Cruise

My father's sister, her children, her grandchildren, one other niece and I cruised on the Caribbean Princess.  Here we are in port in St.Thomas, Virgin Islands.
My father's sister, her children, her grandchildren, one other niece and I cruised on the Caribbean Princess. Here we are in port in St.Thomas, Virgin Islands. | Source

(2) Funny Stories

Among the stories my grandmother told was the one about her attempts to discipline my father. She was utterly afraid of having her feet get wet in her shoes. He would always position himself near a bucket of water or have a tumbler in his hand when she got ready to spank him. He delayed many a spanking (back in the day when it was acceptable) by distracting her that way.

“Let me see if you’re as smart as your father,” the village postman used to tell me, and I’d have to come up with a joke. I think he laughed not because I was funny, but because he was thinking of my father.


(3) Fruit of His Kindness

My first job after college, was teaching school on a Caribbean island – other than my native island. One of the school board members was exceptionally kind to me. Among other things, he supplied me regularly with local fruits and vegetables..

During the last week of my two-year assignment, he told me the story of his friendship with a young man from another island who shared the same last name as mine. The man had been very hospitable to him when he vacationed on that island, and he had promised to return the kindness, but the man died.

“But you did fulfill your promise to him,” I told him, “by the kindness you showed to his daughter.”

“I could never live with myself,” the man told me, “if I had treated you any differently.”

Providence had arranged for me to reap the fruit of my father’s kindness.


(4) Faith

My Dad Would Be Proud Of Me

Making my father's faith my own.
Making my father's faith my own. | Source

My father’s loyalty to his religious conviction is mentioned in the book written to commemorate his church’s fiftieth anniversary.

He refused to work on the Bible Sabbath after he learned that God expected him to spend the day in worship. My father had made an impact on his peers and fellow workers when his faith was tested in his youth.

His loyalty to the faith he embraced is his legacy to me. He left me some direction for my spirituality.

So on Father’s Day when the congregation sings:

“Faith of Our Fathers living still,”

I sing about the faith of my father.


Remember

Family members can effectively influence the children’s attitude by telling positive stories about the father. To tear him down is to feed them hostility and tear down their self-worth. To teach love and respect for him is to teach love and respect for themselves - and for the life he helped to give them.

© 2011 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 39 comments

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I love the positive way in which you've paid tribute to your Father whose presence can still be felt in your words, though he is gone. Beautifully expressed.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, PegCole17. You're always so encouraging and supportive. I appreciate you.


Rnyakunid 5 years ago

Wow that is deep!!


Arthur 5 years ago

Exceptional article, well written a deep and moving tribute.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Arthur and Rnyakunid. Hope you too have some pleasant fathers day experiences or memories.


Delores R Waters 5 years ago

Dora, thanks for sharing your heartfelt tribute to your father. It is too easy to waste time thinking of the negative, for all the good it does.

I will share this with my daughters who lost their Dad several years ago.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Delores, hope you and your daughters have found a way to prolong the happy memories of the good times you shared with him.


Glynda Dais 5 years ago

Thank you for being you! Your writing is so refreshing!!


thelma e niles 5 years ago

Dearest Dora,I enjoyed your story about your Father'I have also very good child hood memories of my Dad and the love we shared with him.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Glynda. I'd like to see you on HubPages too.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Sister Niles. I bet the good times you shared with your Dad contributed to the sweet, gracious person you have become.


SUSIE42 profile image

SUSIE42 5 years ago

A beautiful story. Hits home for me.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Susie42. Pleasant memories to you and family throughout the weekend!


justme 5 years ago

i read the article and i will definitely follow your example and speak positively to my children about their dad or any adult for that matter.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

You got it, justme. Thanks for the affirmation.


Billie Carpenter 5 years ago

My father,at 21,died at Fort Leris WA. May 30 1937.

I was born in the Tacoma General Hospital Aug,1937.

My mom was 18; my Gram had me most of the 1st 7 years.

My Aunt and 2 Uncles loved my father as ther own. They were to me,as my siblings. Mom and her new husbond moved out of state when I was almost 8. I still find my self lonsome, for no semingly no good reasion.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ah Billie! Sorry that you never got to know your dad, and that you feel lonesome now. If you reach out to some of the younger relatives and love them like your aunt and uncles loved you, that might help. Share some of your happy memories with the younger ones. They like stories and they will like you for telling them.


Cousin Sylvia 5 years ago

I am so deeply impressed to know you are speaking about my dear Uncle Elridge, and how you feel about us all. He was my closest uncle even though when I was very

young, he made me do home work, and go to Sabbath school, when all of my friends were playing. You will never know how much I miss him, and what a great impression he made to my life, you have brought tears to my eyes when I read this, and how you have placed the words in just the right order. I hope everyone who read this will feel the same way as I do, to know God forgives us with all our faults and flaws, so who are we not to forgive our father the same way. God bless you, I love you my dear cousin.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Cousin Sylvia, you also brought tears to my eyes. I've got the best "father's side" family. I love you too, and all the rest of the family.


Sheila Kennedy profile image

Sheila Kennedy 5 years ago from Australia

Thank you


rdsparrowriter profile image

rdsparrowriter 4 years ago

It's wonderful :)God bless You!!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, rdsparrowriter. God bless you too!


chaplainpat 4 years ago

Well written and very encouraging.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Chaplain. just re-read it and it encouraged me too


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 3 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

MsDora, very kind hub. I think a message you also deliver in this both bittersweet and uplifting writing is the value of being civil, but mostly looking for that silver lining of positive attributes. My father never knew his real father and he carried that with him all his life. I can't imagine what a child goes through, so I like the way you present your experience and still come out holding something positive. Thanks for your advice here.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ytsenoh, your comment really encourages me. Every child needs to think well about her parents; and other family members can help to portray the parents kindly. My grandparents and my father's siblings did that. Many thanks to them.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

What a glorious tribute this is. Your father might have had a flaw which you make a mention about; as humans we all have, but there are so many positive things about him that has so enriched your life. The role your family played in contributing to this feel good factor is really commendable.

Your hub is a great lesson in more ways than one.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Rajan on behalf of my father, my family and myself. Family really influences its members more than some know.


ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

Beautiful ode to your father and all fathers MsDora! :o)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, AJ. He's special although I have no physical memory of him; but all fathers are special.


ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

Yes true MsDora!


Laura335 profile image

Laura335 18 months ago from Pittsburgh, PA

Great Hub! It's inspiring to see how you are able to use the memories of others to create your own. We can all do this with relatives that we never knew.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Laura, good observation and good suggestion! Thanks for reading and commenting.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 18 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Ms. Dora......This tribute to your precious Dad and the beautiful love you nurtured for him, has made my heart sing. I could relive my own life with my beloved Dad whom I have not been able to talk with in decades. But I can hear his voice and remember his many words of wisdom....

This is a portrait of pure love and devotion which you have artfully painted for your father. He is SO proud of you, Ms. Dora......and so am I.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Paula, you made my day! Thanks a million for your encouragement.


Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 17 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

It sounds like you dad had a real presence in your life, even though he was gone. It's too bad that every fatherless child does not have that.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 17 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Sherry, thanks for that sweet comment. Yes, I feel like I knew my father, and his mother and siblings are mostly responsible for that.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 5 months ago from Philippines

Dear Ms. Dora, you have a beautiful mind and heart. Everything about you is beautiful. This is a beautiful article that touches the heart so deeply.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Mona, you're very kind. Thank you for that encouraging comment.

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