3 LIFE LESSONS I LEARNT FROM MY FATHER
I was 14 years of age and in Junior Secondary School three (JSS3) when my father passed on. My father, Mr Yunana Aseibi, was my first role model and a source of inspiration. Nearly two decades on, I am — and will be forever — grateful for the lessons I learnt from him. These lessons guided me through that JSS3 to a PhD in Engineering. As I think of what lies ahead, I thought it wise to reflect on my father’s influence on my life.
Growing up, my father expected great things from my siblings and me. We did not have most things we needed. But my father taught us never to let the lack around us define us. He raised us to believe in something larger than our immediate circumstances.
I always place the lessons from my father on a tripod. He will always say: go to school, go to church, and take care of one another. In a more sophisticated term, it means value education, live for the service of others and nourish your faith. As I grew old, I mapped these lessons to the three dimensions of my personality: mind, soul, and spirit. Let me expand more on this mapping.
Education builds the mind: my father placed a high value on knowledge. He was loving but disciplined, particularly when you are not enthusiastic about education. I attended one of the best secondary schools in Maiduguri. We had a large black and white Television (32”) at home that we watched every night. On that TV, I watched and was inspired by the stories of Okonjo Iweala, Wole Soyinka and Dora Akunyili. The pursuit of knowledge has remained an important part of my routine. However busy a day is, I always find the time to read. This has built and continues to build my mind.
Service nourishes the soul: My father encouraged us to serve one another. He demonstrated and inspired us on this path through his way of life. He was a church and community person. Our house in Maiduguri was opened to a local church as their temporary home and to the Jukun community group as their meeting location. I took the path of service by always finding a place to serve in any community I find myself. Through years of service, I have understood that serving others nourishes the soul.
Faith strengthens the spirit: Growing up, faith was a cornerstone in our household. Devotions were held every morning, and Sunday church service was a tradition. In the midst of lack, the faith taught me sufficiency. “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” was my favourite Bible verse.
In a world with millions searching for meaning, I recommend you educate your mind, nourish your soul, and strengthen your spirit. Engaging will all three will bolster your journey to success.