Father’s Day is a great time to reflect on all the wonderful memories I’ve shared with my paps. But more importantly, now I am a father myself, it’s a time to take note of the lessons he has instilled in me from a young age. These are lessons that have helped shape, grow and inspire me as a person – things I now hope to pass on to my own children.
1. Push yourself to the limit
What is the point of living if you aren’t going to live life to the fullest? When Dad believes in something, he throws himself in, feet first – literally! He has an infallible way of seeing an opportunity, grabbing it with both hands and worrying about the rest later. And while that might sound careless, it really is a gift – to have the confidence and self-belief to know you could be on the cusp of something great, and not be held back by fear, is something I hope to encourage in my own children.
2. It’s ok to fail
The problem with risk-taking is that it doesn’t always pay off – but that’s ok! Failure goes hand in hand with stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things, and it’s a great way to learn and better yourself. The only real failure is to not learn from your experiences.
I am incredibly lucky to have grown up in such a supportive family. No idea is too big, no challenge too adventurous and no failure experienced alone. Whether Mum, Dad, or sister, there has always been someone there to pick me up, brush me off and send me back out to try again.
3. Love infectiously
My family is made up of a lot of different people and personalities, but one thing we all have in common, is that we love one another immeasurably. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been surrounded by the love and care of my close family and friends – that’s an amazing thing to be able to say and something I certainly don’t take for granted.
It’s the thing I feel the luckiest for in my life.
If the whole world was a little more loving and caring, I believe we could achieve pretty much anything. It’s something I see my Dad live and breathe every day. He greets everyone with the same patience, interest and care that he would his own family – and it is this love and openness that ignites the best in people.
4. Be your own person
I have always been given the freedom to be myself and my parents have always embraced my different phases growing up. This has helped me build my own character and for that I am grateful.
Over time some people have suggested that I have big shoes to fill, but I have always thought, I have my own pair of shoes – and I like the way they fit – I just hope one day they can take me on my own journey… and I am happy to say now they really are!
5. Appreciate everything
When I was about 12 I remember seeing my Dad on a balcony on Necker, looking out at the view. I went up to him and asked what he was doing, to which he replied, “just looking at the view, isn't it beautiful!”. Having been lucky enough to grow up with this as a normal sight, I remember thinking, ‘It’s just the normal view isn't it, what’s so special about it?’ But then I thought to myself, ‘I want to see what Dad sees. I want to see that it is beautiful too'.
This was a real moment for me, as ever since, I have tried to see the beauty in things – and experiencing contrast in life is the best way to do this.
With this in the back of my mind, I have since tried to experience as much as possible; different cultures, countries, perspectives etc.
It all feeds a thirst for knowledge and an understanding of the world – something that only grows stronger so when you couple perspective with a drive to see the beauty in things, life is truly enriching.
Appreciating not just the little things, but all things, really is the key to a happy life!
My paps is a wonderful man: kind, compassionate, clever and funny. Whether helping to guide me when I was a boy and giving me a push in the right direction or simply lending a comforting ear when I need some advice, he is always there. There are hundreds of things that he has taught me over the years, but the most important, is that you only get one life to live, so do something incredible with it.
This quote by Nelson Mandela sums up this outlook beautifully:
Every choice you make in life has a knock on effect for someone else. My upbringing has given me a huge well of empathy and I feel so passionate about positively affecting the world.
This outlook has driven me and enriched my life. It makes me think of the things I have learnt and how I am going to help guide my children into wonderful, caring people that also make a positive difference in the world.
I feel proud to have such an amazing father and am confident that if I can grow into even half the person he is, then I will be a happy man.