Sunday, June 21, 2015

Parenting | Fathers' Day

I usually try to refrain from jumping onto bandwagon celebrations. But for some reason, this fathers’ day appears to have gotten me thinking many things. There are things we often take for granted. The provisions. The guidance. Life's choices. And many others.

I remember trying out something cheeky in my primary school – Primary Two – to be specific. One day, I woke up and decided I was done with the name I had been baptized with, more than six years earlier. My dad was cool with it, partly because (I think) I had posted good results that term.

A couple of years later, someone came visiting, and had carried with him a secondary school Atlas. On several pages of the same was a school stamp that read like "Stolen From Ntare School". I was curious. I wanted to know what type of school would have such words on its stamp.

I asked around and got a few clues. Ntare School was one school that had nurtured many big people in the country. There were university professors all over the place singing the School’s praises. The cabinet had many of them, too, and M7 was still the beacon of hope for African politics in many a political observer’s eyes.

My mind was made up. I was going to Ntare School when I became of age. I had a word with my dad, and he was okay with it – as long as I got the grades to take me there.

As luck would have it, I managed to get the grades and joined Ntare. Fast forward to six years later, it was decision time again. I sat with my old man and we talked career choices. He was all traditional and cautious.

He wanted me to do one of those prestigious courses, somewhere along the lines of Engineering, Pharmacy and Medicine (I was doing PCB/M, so all options were still viable).

I told him I would be going for IT, a relatively new course that not many knew much about at the time (Inspired by one Samuel Kukiriza, a high school idol of mine). We talked at length, and I was finally able to convince him. As long as I got the course on government sponsorship, he said. Such was his tolerance. He has always respected my choices.

At the same time, he was one of the greatest disciplinarians I ever saw. We were always the best of friends as long as I was not in the wrong. But things would become bloody if he ever got me trying to be funny (hehe). He was such an excellent executor of the carrot and stick approach.

At times I felt he was being too strict with me and things. But I would appreciate much later every time I looked back to the stuff I had gone through. I remember him warning me against being one dimensional once I got to campus.

Things had changed, he said. While he had a ready job after almost every stage of his education, there was a possibility of roaming the streets for years with no job in sight in our days.

I had to think outside the box. After all, I was already above 18, and free to make decisions of my own, he stressed. Throughout my entire life, it was clear he never wished to see himself raise a mollycoddle. Today, he remains one of my best friends. 

Happy fathers’ day to the best father I know.

Dan A.

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