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Fathers Day Reflection Part 2: Lessons from my Fathers

In my last article, I talked about the biggest life lessons that my short stint in fatherhood has taught me. In this article, I want to honour my dads and share the lessons my two fathers taught me. 

To give you a bit of background, I’ve had two fathers who have played a significant role in my formative development: my step and my biological day.  My step was in my life for 3 years before a sudden car accident took him away in 1996. This remains one of the most painful life events I have been through especially given I was only 13 when I lost him. 

I met my biological dad in 1998 when I was 15 and we got along very well. He did his best to be there for me despite the fact that he had another family, businesses to run and lots of life commitments. Unfortunately in 2003, he passed away. What sucked was that I had just moved to Australia and had barely settled in. This meant that I could not travel to Kenya for his funeral. It took a long time process the loss and heal.

Despite the short time I had with these two men, I learned a number of great lessons that still serve me today. On this Father’s day, I want to take some time to honour them by sharing some of the life lessons they taught me.

1. Give without expecting

My stepdad Charles was probably one of the most generous human beings I’ve met to this date. He was generous with his money and time. He went out of his way to help others without demanding reciprocity. I’ve seen people take advantage of generosity yet he would forgive and still help. No wonder 24 years later,  people who knew him still talk about him in a positive way. It makes me wonder how I want to be remembered when I’m gone. What kind of impact I want to have on my family and community.

2.Passion

If you know me on a personal basis, you’ll know that I’m very passionate. That’s because the apple never fell far from the tree. Both my dads were passionate about life and their vocations. The thing about passion is that it’s infectious. It inspires others. I remember how affectionate my stepdad was with my mother and how much warmth and security that gave me. I remember how much my dad’s face lighted up when he talked about his work. I always want to be that guy that brings the energy into the room.

3. Never give up

This is one quality that defines my two dads. When I first met my stepdad in 1991, he was a friend of the family and we clicked straight away. I’ve watched that man get falsely accused, land in prison, lose everything and rebuild himself from scratch twice. My mom tells me stories about how my dad lost everything but still found a way to pick up the pieces, reinvent himself and try again. Sometimes, when I feel like giving up in life, I always tend to think to myself: what would me dad’s say? This is probably what makes me resilient in the face of challenges.

4. Hard work pays off

My two dads were hard workers. My dad was an avid businessman and my stepdad balanced the career and side hustle thing like a champ.  My step dad’s hard work meant he was able to build wealth and provide opportunities for our family. Not only do I want to teach my son the value hard work, but I also want him to watch me go through the process and learn the raw lessons.

5.Responsibility

There is a proverb in my tribe which loosely translated means “An elephant carries its heavy tasks all day but never gets tired of them”.  My biological dad exemplifies what it means to own up to your shortcomings and yet take responsibility for your actions. My mom and I laugh about this now but I was not conceived in the best of circumstances. My dad had another family. Yet despite that fact that my mom and dad never had any relationship after I arrived, the dude never denied my existence and he would show up and visit even when I did not know that he was my dad. In life, you have to own up to your shortcomings,  take responsibility for your actions and the people in your care.

To give you a bit of background, I’ve had two fathers who have played a significant role in my formative development: my step and my biological day.  My step was in my life for 3 years before a sudden car accident took him away in 1996. This remains one of the most painful life events I have been through especially given I was only 13 when I lost him. 

I met my biological dad in 1998 when I was 15 and we got along very well. He did his best to be there for me despite the fact that he had another family, businesses to run and lots of life commitments. Unfortunately in 2003, he passed away. What sucked was that I had just moved to Australia and had barely settled in. This meant that I could not travel to Kenya for his funeral. It took a long time process the loss and heal.

Despite the short time I had with these two men, I learned a number of great lessons that still serve me today. On this Father’s day, I want to take some time to honour them by sharing some of the life lessons they taught me.

1. Give without expecting

My stepdad Charles was probably one of the most generous human beings I’ve met to this date. He was generous with his money and time. He went out of his way to help others without demanding reciprocity. I’ve seen people take advantage of generosity yet he would forgive and still help. No wonder 24 years later,  people who knew him still talk about him in a positive way. It makes me wonder how I want to be remembered when I’m gone. What kind of impact I want to have on my family and community.

2.Passion

If you know me on a personal basis, you’ll know that I’m very passionate. That’s because the apple never fell far from the tree. Both my dads were passionate about life and their vocations. The thing about passion is that it’s infectious. It inspires others. I remember how affectionate my stepdad was with my mother and how much warmth and security that gave me. I remember how much my dad’s face lighted up when he talked about his work. I always want to be that guy that brings the energy into the room.

3. Never give up

This is one quality that defines my two dads. When I first met my stepdad in 1991, he was a friend of the family and we clicked straight away. I’ve watched that man get falsely accused, land in prison, lose everything and rebuild himself from scratch twice. My mom tells me stories about how my dad lost everything but still found a way to pick up the pieces, reinvent himself and try again. Sometimes, when I feel like giving up in life, I always tend to think to myself: what would me dad’s say? This is probably what makes me resilient in the face of challenges.

4. Hard work pays off

My two dads were hard workers. My dad was an avid businessman and my stepdad balanced the career and side hustle thing like a champ.  My step dad’s hard work meant he was able to build wealth and provide opportunities for our family. Not only do I want to teach my son the value hard work, but I also want him to watch me go through the process and learn the raw lessons.

5.Responsibility

There is a proverb in my tribe which loosely translated means “An elephant carries its heavy tasks all day but never gets tired of them”.  My biological dad exemplifies what it means to own up to your shortcomings and yet take responsibility for your actions. My mom and laugh about this now but I was not conceived in the best of circumstances. My dad had another family. Yet despite that fact that my mom and dad never had any relationship after I arrived, the dude never denied my existence and he would show up and visit even when I did not know that he was my dad. In life, you have to own up to your shortcomings,  take responsibility for your actions and the people in your care.

John Kiama

On this site, I share everything I've learnt (and still learning) from my personal and business growth. Hopefully, my life lesson can help can get to your goals faster, without making the same mistakes I’ve made.

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