What I Learned from My Sagacious Father
I never really saw my father as someone special while I was growing up. He was just a "Dad", oftentimes a crazy, irritating Dad, just like all the other Dads. It was when he passed away that I realized just how special and unique he was - a person so down to earth, normal and yet so complicated; driven and passionate and yet so considerate and benevolent. He has left us a legacy - a gift more valuable than earthly riches and fame - a guide to getting the most of life and achieving success and happiness. Here are the moral values of his legacy:
You can reach your goals through will power, hard work and positive thinking.
My father came from a large low-income family living on a mountain top far from the main town. We were told that in his younger years, he would walk all the way down the mountain to attend school and then walk back up the mountain. Imagine doing that everyday! My father financed his own law studies by working as janitor in the daytime. With a law diploma, he climbed up the ladder of success from a Legal Clerk to Assistant Regional Manager. He also worked in the evenings as Law Professor in the nearby university to be able to provide for his ever growing family.
Be true to your faith and keep it alive.
My father was a devout Catholic. He and Mom got married in church. My parents raised and educated us in the Catholic Faith. My father and mother would take turns in leading the Holy Rosary prayers and mealtime prayers until we were old enough to lead too. We were the epitome of the saying, " A family that prays together, stays together." It's always a great feast during our baptisms- 11 in all. We had our First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies in school and the whole family would attend these big special moments. All the Church feast days, especially Lent, Easter and Christmas were celebrated and observed together. When he passed away, we held his wake in the house that he and my brothers built as holiday hut. It's on the mountaintop, in his own birthplace; a place where his family and relatives still live. He has always loved his hometown. He made sure that the chapel was renovated and well-maintained. He formed and led a musical band among the locals- providing them with musical instruments with his own money. During the month of May, our family would be there for the town fiesta in honor of the patron saint. The band would provide music for the procession and the Holy Mass in the chapel. There would be lots of food music and dancing in the town plaza.
Surround yourself with your loved ones.
Although my father had two jobs to keep, he always had time for his family. Family comes first, was his motto. We always did things together - going to church, attending his company Christmas parties, frolicking on the beach, going shopping or visiting the cinema, cheering for his softball team; and many more. Mealtimes were always noisy. When my father passed away, my mom was devastated. He was her first love, her soulmate, confidant, lover, father-figure and a soundboard for her naggings. They were very much in love and having 11 children was the result of that love.
Untap and share your talents.
Aside from being a lawyer, my Dad was always into many of his skills. He's an excellent cook. During weekends and dinner time, he's the one preparing the meals. He could come up with several dishes. He could also whip up delicious snacks. He's a genius in music and he was our first piano teacher. He was always proud each time we played the piano or presented a kids' dance sequence in front of guests at home. If the von Trapp family had a singing group, we had a dance group. He could play the guitar and other musical instruments and he could sing too. Family gatherings/parties were always fun with Dad and his friends dishing out some ballads.
He's a genius in sports too. He was the coach of their company's volleyball and softball teams. He would take us to his games and we would shout and clap and cheer for him and his team. My siblings and I are about the same age- having been born in sequence of one or two years. People would watch in amusement every time they saw us walking - my parents leading 11 kids. We're like Snow White, the Prince and the Eleven Dwarfs!
Extend your hand to the needy.
My Dad was not the evil and crafty lawyer we often see in the movies. People in the poor neighborhood used to ask for my father's help in legal issues. And he would render his services to these people pro bono. Sometimes he's handed a live chicken or baked goods as a token of gratitude for his help. Our family driver and household helps were relatives whom my parents welcomed to stay in our house while they study in the big city.
Realize and accept your flaws; we are all born imperfect.
My father was not that perfect though; he had his flaws. He loved to drink on social occasions. When he's drunk he would become very boisterous and loud; he would turn into a stand up comedian/singer. It was enough to put my mother in embarrassment. They're opposite poles - he's an extrovert; she's an introvert. Well, as they say, opposites attract.
Another thing, he sucked at driving. Although we had a family driver, my father wanted to drive the car too. So he took driving lessons and got his license. However, he's a nervous wreck on the road. Oftentimes, he would be apprehended by the traffic officer for - hold it- underspeeding! And if it's getting a bit busier on the road, he would stop the car, step out and wait and pretend he was not the driver. Kind of comical actually.
Face obstacles calmly and stand up in times of trials; never let any crisis get you down.
My father's mental strength was put to severe test a lot of times from his childhood to adulthood. The worst was when he lost his job at the time when we were old enough to start college. We had to sell our household car. We had to let go of our family driver and household helps. We moved to a rented house in a modest neighborhood. Before that, my parents had to sell the piano and other household furniture and appliances since the rental house was much smaller than our original home. My father found another job as Legal Officer and maintained his evening stint as Law Professor. It was a miracle that my father managed to send his 11 children to college. I guess his great faith in our Lord has enabled him to do what he needed to do as a family man.
I am glad that my father lived to see all his kids graduate from college, land a job, get married and have families of their own. My parents were finally able to buy a house again, buy back the land they had sold years ago and even were able to regain possession of the precious family piano.
I shall always miss my father. He lived to the fullest and I am sure God welcomed him with pride and joy.
© 2020 Rose T