Happy Father’s Day

June 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm 10 comments


 
My father died in 1998. He was different from the other fathers I know. He never pushed me and my sister to grow up quickly. He wanted us to enjoy every minute of our childhood. In school, he never demanded high grades. Passing was good enough. When I was being promoted ahead of my class from second to third grade, he refused.

“Why are you rushing him?” he told the administrator. “Let him finish with the rest of his class.”

“Live and enjoy the present” was his mantra. “The future would come whether you like it or not.”

He had opportunities for several promotions, but he declined. He loved the town in the Philippines where he was born. The town of his father and his father’s father. For him, there was no better place to live. Leaving the town wasn’t worth the extra money he would earn somewhere else.

To me, that signified a lack of ambition and I resented it. Staying put meant less money and less money meant I had to make do with hand me downs and clothes that my mom sewed. You don’t realize how embarrassing that was for a 13-year old kid.

But he was always there. He kept the family together. While some of my friends complained about not seeing their fathers, he was always around. On weekdays, he left for work in the morning and went home in the evening and never missed dinner. On weekends, he busied himself in the house fixing things up. He seldom went for a drink with buddies. He never gambled. He was a good man and father. His joy was in his family.

“Be yourself” was his other mantra. He said no matter how you try you wouldn’t live up to others’ expectations. As expectations are met, the bars would be raised. So, why even try? And it also goes with material possessions. It’s not good to want the best, especially if you can’t afford it. What’s the use? The best today wouldn’t necessarily be the best tomorrow. I know my father would fully agree with Sheryl Crowe when she sings, “It’s not having what you want… It’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Everything would have been fine and dandy had my father and I shared the same values. But we never did. He wanted me to stay. He wanted a simple life for me surrounded by family. But that wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to lead. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to spread my wings and explore the world. This created some tensions between us. At the first opportunity, I left the house of my father. In the end, I think, he respected my decision.

Maybe time would tell that my father was right. Happiness is where your roots are and that ambition and the drive for material success are nothing but useless pursuits. In the meantime, let me roll. Full speed ahead.

To me, that signified a lack of ambition and I resented it. Staying put meant less money and less money meant I had to make do with hand me downs and clothes that my mom sewed. You don’t realize how embarrassing that was for a 13-year old kid.

But he was always there. He kept the family together. While some of my friends complained about not seeing their fathers, he was always around. On weekdays, he left for work in the morning and went home in the evening and never missed dinner. On weekends, he busied himself in the house fixing things up. He seldom went for a drink with buddies. He never gambled. He was a good man and father. His joy was in his family.

“Be yourself” was his other mantra. He said no matter how you try you wouldn’t live up to other peoples’ expectations. As expectations are met, the bars would be raised. so, why even try? And it also goes with material possessions. It’s not good to want the best, especially if you can’t afford it. What’s the use? The best today wouldn’t necessarily be the best tomorrow. I know my father would fully agree with Sheryl Crowe when she sings, “It’s not having what you want… It’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Everything would have been fine and dandy had my father and I shared the same values. But we never did. He wanted me to stay. He wanted a simple life for me surrounded by family. But that wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to lead. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to spread my wings and explore the world. This created some tensions between us. At the first opportunity, I left the house of my father. In the end, I think, he respected my decision.

Maybe time would tell that my father was right. Happiness is where your roots are and that ambition and the drive for material success are nothing but useless pursuits. In the meantime, let me roll. Full speed ahead.

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tracey@WhatsforDinnerDoc.com  |  June 21, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Plaridel,
    Did you intend to repeat yourself or did you paste it twice?
    T

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  June 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      tracey:

      it was a repost from the past.

      Reply
  • 3. milliethom  |  June 22, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I really enjoyed reading that, Plaridel. When it comes down to whether you or your father had the right ideas about life and career, i’d say it’s all about personal choice, with no right or wrong way. Whatever makes you happy…

    Reply
    • 4. plaridel  |  June 22, 2015 at 11:27 am

      millie:

      i totally agree. while we’re at it, let me share this quote for Kahlil Gibran.

      “You may strive to be like them,” he advised parents, “but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

      “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

      “Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

      Reply
      • 5. milliethom  |  June 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm

        What a wonderful quote, Plaridel – amazingly insightful and so beautifully expressed. The idea that children are the arrows sent forth from the bow (parent) is wonderful. Move forward, not backward … Thank you for sharing this.

        Reply
        • 6. plaridel  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

          millie:

          you’re welcome. 🙂

          Reply
  • 7. aysabaw  |  June 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

    what a great post Sir P. We usually don’t appreciate what we have till we realize its too late.

    Very rare for fathers not to miss dinner nowadays as well as spend time at home on weekends.

    Reply
    • 8. plaridel  |  June 22, 2015 at 11:28 am

      aysabaw:

      I think as we get older we start to realize that our parents might be right in some aspects after all and that they deserve all the love and respect that we can give.

      Reply
  • 9. Suzanne Joshi.  |  June 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    That was a loving piece, Plaridel. You had a great father. My dad was a lot like that. He died in 1980 and I still miss him. He was always there for us. Well done. 🙂

    Reply
    • 10. plaridel  |  June 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      suzanne:

      he was a great father. his priority was his family.

      Reply

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