FOR ALL THE FATHERS

img-20160919-wa0001On a day like this, I will not forget the man that sowed the seed that gave life to me. My father.

My father is a great man and an embodiment of fatherhood. He populated our house with all manner of books and encyclopedia for our enlightenment. During my childhood, the most electronic gadget my father could afford our home was a battery radio. But because he knows the value of education, he not only allowed the radio to be a source of entertainment to me, but he also ensured that it was an educating tool to me by making me listen alongside with him to enlightening stations like the Voice of America. His job as a career teacher first started at home. He was a good teacher.

I still remember my first beer. He took me to a bar and got me a bottle of beer and some pepper soup. I will never forget that day. I felt like a man.

I am a soccer freak and played competitive soccer. He came to almost every soccer game I participated in. To watch me play. It was unbeknownst to me. Until I spotted him one day. And on that day I wasn’t playing at the level I was used to. But spotting him from where he was hiding among the spectators got me reinvigorated and I gave one of my best performances in soccer competition to date. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

At nights upon coming home from school, I used to read anything that is printed. I remember the first word he gave me the correct pronunciation and meaning to – mere. When I first encountered the word in the book I was reading, I got the pronunciation wrong and was wild about the meaning. I waited until he got home and I have to ask him. Just like every good father, he helped me out in my study life.

He is a disciplinarian but was not someone given to constant chastising. The moments you expect him to whoop your ass for a fuck-up that deserves serious ass whooping, he will disappoint you. He will sit you down and he will talk to you. The guilt you will feel after his admonition will not only make you repent of your sins, but will discourage you from doing such bad things again.

Discipline is never sweet. Even the Bible said it. But the good thing about it is that the person disciplining the disciplined knows better and has the best intentions for the disciplined because he knows that discipline is the ONLY way to produce character in the disciplined. And if the disciplined can walk through the process, he or she will eventually see the gains. And that was the case with me.

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TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER

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My father, Chief Benaiah Chikwem Ezeocha is a great man. He was born in 1937. And 1937 was a very, very, very good year.

Born into a family of 4 boys and a girl, my father was the youngest of all. He was a bright chap and he was very ambitious. And consequently, he is the most successful among his siblings.

As a child born under the British colonial rule, even though his parents couldn’t afford the cost of travelling to the United Kingdom to acquire Western education, that did not discourage my father’s desire for one. Consequent of his hard work, he got admitted for a distant learning program at the prestigious Bethel College, a Christian liberal arts college located in Mishawaka, Indiana, United States. After his education, he ended up becoming an elementary school teacher, a career that took him to several elementary schools in numerous towns in different states of Southeastern Nigeria, and retired as the headmaster of the elementary school in my hometown. He left a great legacy as a teacher. His protégés and folks he disciplined into becoming better people still come around to pay homage to him. He was a great educator and disciplinarian.

As a youth, my father was a playboy kind of guy. He had his ways with women. Built at 5’ 5”, he is a skinny guy, light-skinned and soft-spoken. Girls loved him. He used to tell me stories of his escapades with women. Especially during his teacher-training school days in Nigeria. He lived by himself. Having lost his dad early in his life, he was raised by his mother. And being so connected with his mother who was just getting by, he used to make his female fans bring lots of foodstuff for him to his place, ostensibly to keep him fit and healthy for them, but primarily to have sufficient foodstuff to send home to his struggling mother. He was a smart fella and loved his mother dearly. And I love him.

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