Life is about example. Having example and being an example. My father has been my main parent since I was about one. My mother died in a car accident. Everything I have learnt about being a man, a professional, a husband, a father, etc has stemmed from my father. I started working for him in the family businesses from a very young age so I learnt how to work and gained skills directly from him outside of school but, more importantly, watching him over the years – I am now 42 and he is 79 – has shaped who I am.
Whenever I am asked about my role models, my father is always the first I name but it is more than that for me – he has been the ultimate example. None of us is perfect but he has been perfect, even with his imperfections, because he provided a foundation, a template of sorts, from which I could, and can, build a life I can be proud of. I continue to learn from him every day, and it is impossible to break a lifetime of lessons into a couple of words but, through his example, he has taught me:
- about responsibility and duty,
- about sacrifice,
- about hard work,
- about living completely,
- about respect for self and others,
- about pride,
- about perfection and excellence,
- about dreaming without limit,
- about compassion,
- about humility,
- about love,
- about legacy.
My love for knowledge, and reading, and writing, and music, and sport, and creativity, and expression, comes from him. Every time the teams we both support – Ghana, Germany, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Kaizer Chiefs – play in an important game, I know I will get a phone call afterwards either to celebrate or to check that I am handling the disappointment of a loss. And I reminded of the importance of thinking beyond oneself.
As a father myself now, I understand him a lot more. I understand how he has been able to get up every day and go out to change the world because there is no other option when you have the responsibility of raising children and living a life of legacy.
I hope that I shape up. I strive to do so every day. And celebrate the privilege I have of being his son. On this Father’s Day, Chivas Regal, as part of their My Father Is A Gentleman campaign, have provided me with two bottles of Chivas Regal 18 to giveaway. When I was growing up, my father’s bottle of Chivas was always the one that you weren’t allowed to touch. The most important lesson for me from my father is that being a gentleman is about living authentically and positively. A quote I try to live by is: A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.
To enter, please leave a comment on what fatherhood means to you. The two winners will be randomly selected by my 7-year old son. The competition is only open to South African residents. The winner will be notified by email. The closing date for the competition is Wednesday, June 18th, 2014.