My father, a police officer seemed quite on the outside but was strong and resilient inside. It’s more than two decades now since he passed away, and what remains are his memories and what he taught me through his actions and deeds.
His journey through life till his last breath can be a lesson on how to come out victorious from non-conducive circumstances. In his unique way, his teachings have helped me in various phases of my life.
So here are five life lessons from my father that I live by even today.
Learnt to be adaptable
My father was a police officer in the state of Madhya Pradesh. So, he got transferred every two to three years. And we as a family moved with him. Over the years I observed how well my father would adjust to his new workplace. When I was in school and college I hated postings, it meant leaving behind my friends, school etc. But now as an adult I realise that I along with my siblings have learnt to make friends quickly, accept different cultures, experiences and cuisines. I believe I am more accepting and adjusting than anyone around me. What I learnt from his life is to be open to any new challenge or change, regardless of your background and skills, to form bonds that can transcend time and distance.
During his lifetime he got me married off to a central police force personnel. And my training under my father is what has helped me navigate through life so far. Now that I have a daughter I see the life coming a full circle.
Learnt to stand by my integrity
To stand up for my integrity and beliefs is the biggest lesson I have learnt from my father. I remember he had to face many setbacks in the form of delayed promotions because he did not bend to pressures. And believe me, he had to plenty of times in his long career. He was ready to take a step back and give up plump posting, because he chose not to bow down before anyone. He gained a lot of respect for his stand ultimately. He was this proud person till death took him away from us much before time.
Whenever I face a crossroad in life, I think of my father, and wonder which direction he would take, and I get my answer.
Suggested Reading: Learn To Say No: Precious Life Lessons I Learnt From My Father-In-Law
To be content with little
My father was a salaried person and he had a big family to feed. There were plenty of times growing up, when money was tight. We saw our friends with the latest and trendiest of gadgets and clothes which we could not afford. But he made sure to take us along with him on tours, to ancient and historical places in and around the place of our posting. And I can say with surety that maybe this is where I picked up a liking for history and culture.
What I learnt from him was to take a moment to be grateful for what you have and find the little things that give you joy.
Education is the most important thing
Yes, from my father I learnt that getting an education is the most important thing for humans. He had achieved whatever he had in his life because of his education. He came from a family which believed in education, all his sisters were post-graduates and PhD scholars of their time and they chose to be educators. So, it was no surprise then that he provided the best education he could to all us siblings. I remember being a police officer he was posted to the remotest corners of MP like Mandala, Raigarh, Chambal region and Sarguja (before in undivided MP now in Chattisgarh,) where there were no good schools, he sent me and my sister to a hostel even though he received stiff resistance from my mother, family and friends.
I can say like him, I could reach where I am today because my father pushed us to be educated before anything else.
He was far ahead of his times
My father never supported the society’s dictate that girls should be trained in household chores. He would often not allow my mother to take us into the kitchen. He wanted his three daughters to get the best education and be career women. I being the eldest of the siblings was the first to earn a post-graduation degree in my generation. I was the first to join a newspaper as an editor. My other two sisters also went on to join fields of their choice. He let us soar, he let us fail, and he let us be. He was a proud father of his brood.
We are quick to acknowledge our moms’ sacrifice and dedication towards us but it’s time we acknowledge our fathers, our first role models, who teach us life lessons which help us navigate through life. Mothers are nurtures of course but fathers are life coaches.
Views expressed are the author's own.