Today is my second Father’s Day without my Dad. It’s a gut-wrenching day to spend without hearing his voice or seeing his face. But I’ve chosen to smile, knowing that’s how Dad would want me to spend my day – smiling in his memory and focussing on the good things.
So we’ve had a good family day today, we’ve eaten outside, played games and enjoyed fun, laughter and chocolate. We’ve celebrated my husband for being a great dad to our three sons.
That’s not to say I don’t think about my Dad on such days. I do. And I’m thankful for the memories, for the good times and for his legacy. He taught me a lot of things growing up and often had some wise words to share. Words about thankfulness or trust or God’s goodness.
But there’s something that he never really talked about, but simply modelled to me throughout his life. And I think it might just be the most important thing he ever taught me – without saying a single word.
My Dad showed great interest in people. He was friendly and kind to all – whether the guy selling vegetables at a market stall, an old lady sitting alone at the back of church, or the caretaker of the school after parents’ evening. Everyone was important to my Dad and he showed respect to all, regardless of their education or background.
I’ll never forget the time he invited the postman and the milkman in for breakfast one Saturday morning! Dad just wanted to make everyone feel welcome, and was generally easy-going with all those he met. In his job as a chartered surveyor, he sometimes had the opportunity to mingle with some pretty wealthy businessmen. But he never hankered after mixing with the upper crust of society. He showed equal amount of attention to those of both high and low status.
And that’s something for which I’ll always be grateful. My Dad taught me the importance of the individual, the value of listening to others. Without saying one word in this regard, or offering any direct advice, he showed me how to mix with a vast cross-section of society and to be at ease in a variety of settings.
So far in my life, this has proven invaluable – at work, at the school gates, in my neighbourhood, while travelling. When I find myself welcoming strangers or encouraging an outsider, I’m reminded how my Dad’s legacy lives on. In my thoughts, words and actions – as well as in some traits of my sons.
So, thanks, Dad, for being an exemplary father and an all-round decent man – always willing to honour others and show friendliness to all.
See also: My Dad, an English Gentleman, here.