I do not believe that a man could be said to have died intestate – not having made a legally valid will – if his children and the people around him have a lot of lessons to learn from his life though my father left a will before he died. I only have come to realize that there is more to the will of a man than what he physically transfers to you after his death. A will without wisdom from the life that made the will is the will of destruction for the beneficiaries of the will.
In some of the things that I do, I still find myself setting boundaries and restraining myself based on the lessons I have learnt from the actions of this great man. Daddy had his challenges but we certainly were not a hungry family though I must say that we have at some points eaten miracle meals. My new lesson here is how he practically and constantly delayed gratification to get things done the way they should be done. I remember seeing some of my dad’s friend changing cars so often and I saw those who were younger changing cars like they were changing an apartment or even changing their cloths.
None of these seemed to move my dad because he used his Volkswagen beetle for seventeen years (17) before he bought another car. During those years when he went about in his beetle there were those who underrated him and concluded that he had nothing. There were some other people who also came to realize that he was different from the image or impression that his car gave them. I remember a few instances when my dad said some people wanted to visit him and they requested the address. The first thing that surprises them is that the street is named after the seemingly common man they were coming to visit who goes about in his Volkswagen. When they eventually get to his house they finally realize that there is more to this man than driving a beetle and not living large.
He never for once thought that the way to live large was to have a big car to ride in when you do not have a house of your own. I admired all the big cars around and I expected my dad to have one of them but when I grew older I saw things differently and I got to know about people who drove in cars that could buy them fairly good houses yet they live in rented apartments. For some others I am fully convinced they saved up enough money to buy cars when the same amount could have bought them lands to start with. He constantly pointed these things out and they were what he would have called misplacement of priorities. He didn’t talk to me about them but he talked to a few friends about them and sometimes he talked to my mum about it.
His lessons on delayed gratifications are so clear to me and he has set me a challenge that I cannot afford to overlook. When I reflect on his sacrifices and the comfort he managed to provide for his family, I always say daddy worked so hard for me not to be born in a rented apartment. As I said earlier, he didn’t have it all together but he had the foresight that determined the direction of his resources.
If I don’t know anything about fatherhood, at least I know that being a father is not necessarily about having children going by what my father has proven from the way he lived for us. He was not a writer but he always had something to say to people so I guess he would have said, ‘set your priorities right. Some things will come later but you need to deny yourself now.’