Sunday Scribblings: Guide
The prompt suggested at Sunday Scribblings today is "Guide". I've been tossing a couple of ideas for posts around, but this morning, as I begin to write, I'm thinking too about the fact that today is Fathers' Day, and about what kind of a guide my father has been in my life.
My Dad will be 86 next Saturday. He was born at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. He was raised on a little piece of bogland called Hawkfield - in a tiny cottage with the most basic of comforts. He lost his mother when he was 10, and the children - three boys and three girls - were thereafter cared for by a large gaggle of aunts, each of which took care of one child or other.
His schooling - which ended at age 12 - took place in a two-teacher country school. The husband-and-wife teachers taught everything. Every child who came out of that school had a beautiful writing hand, and an idea of what special talent or skill they had. My uncle Joe became a fluent Irish speaker. My Dad took to music (although he didn't stay with it, but that is another story).
I did not set out to tell you his life story, and I don't intend to. What I wanted to say really was that he has lived his life, raised his five children, seen us into adulthood, and our own lives as parents without ever telling us what to do. Maybe my perception isn't entirely accurate, but I seem to remember times when I asked for his advice, and he would always turn the question around, and say "What do you think you want to do?" When I made choices that he would not have made for me, he still accepted that. He didn't want to have any input into our choice of spouses, wanted to allow us each to make up our own minds in the choice of partner. When it came to college or career, where to live - in all of these things, he has steadfastly welcomed the choices and decisions we have made, and he has been proud of all of us.
Even when I told him that I had decided to leave the Church to which he was so devoted, his response was that we each have to do what our own conscience dictates, and that if I'd really given it careful thought, then he wouldn't object to my decision. I have to tell you that from an Irish man of his generation, that is an attitude of openness and acceptance that is rare indeed.
He had - and has - his own strong views on politics, religion and morality but he has never tried to insist that we follow on his path. His guidance has been that we should seek to discover our own truth and follow our own path with integrity. That is guidance worth gold in abundance.
His goal in life was to raise a good family, and he feels content that he has succeeded. He's never travelled, never experienced many of the things in life of which he has read, and yet, he can say that he has done what he wanted in this world.
I feel very blessed in my father. He has been for me, in his own special way, my most valuable guide.
Happy Fathers' Day!
Go on over to Sunday Scribblings to see what other Guides are being described
And if (totally unrelated to this post) you would like to celebrate my sister as a bride, check out yesterday's post HERE You're more than welcome!