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Catholics share on the guiding influence of ‘dad’, ‘daddy’, ‘pops’

Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

We pay tribute to the fathers whose presence, attention, care, teaching, and discipline helped prepare their children for the world.

The Catholic News got a few perspectives on the impact of the guiding influence of man we call ‘dad’, ‘daddy’, ‘pops’, etc.

Angelique Taylor, National Secretary, Society of St Vincent de Paul

“Patience, love of God, kindness to the downtrodden. His side of the family is philanthropic. They grew up in poverty and can relate to those in impoverished situations. They worked and laboured hard to ensure their family was comfortable.

My cousins were into other charitable organisations e.g., Kiwanis. No person that came to their doorstep asking for food was left hungry, both for food or word of encouragement. I grew up seeing my dad [Earl Nicholas Taylor] practise the same thing and this fuelled my love for the poor.

His mom owned a parlour by ‘the Plannings’ located after the former Centre for Socially Displaced Persons heading east. She used to grant credit facilities to customers whom she knew couldn’t pay for the parlour items, much to her profit rate. It wasn’t about money but helping people in desperate situations.

As a secondary school teacher, dad would buy books for the impoverished students and give lessons where he could. He is one of those uncelebrated iconic teachers whom students never forgot and left lifelong impressions on their life and influenced their current careers in agriculture. He was one of the Agriculture Science teachers, having grown up in a farming family in Princes Town.”

Judy McSween, Time Out Specialist

“My father [Esbert Joseph] taught me, physically, the importance of physical health. He actively engaged in daily exercise and was a star player on his football team. I developed my love for sports and exercise from him and enjoyed the times when we exercised together.

Emotionally, he was stern, amicable and patient. I learnt how to manage my emotions and not be thrown ‘off centre’ by the emotions of others. I learnt how to network.

Spiritually, interestingly although I have no recollection of seeing my father physically in church except at his funeral, I recall his willingness to take me to church every Sunday and wait in the car until I was through…so there’s something there.

Intellectually, he emphasised the importance of having a good education. Lastly and not least, he ensured I grew up with confidence and pride in myself and not to accept disrespect from others”.

Mark Ainsely John, National Scout Commissioner

“My dad [Murray Sookrali John] was Muslim, but he married my mom who is Catholic. He made sure that we were at Mass every Sunday and that we participated.

He was there for us for everything in church. He also helped us to understand respect for others by taking us to give alms during Eid and waking us up early at least once a term to make breakfast and take it to the St Vincent de Paul home and distributing these ourselves as children.

He was an excellent cook, and he would make sure that there were hot meals prepared every day despite his work schedule. He would cook either before he left for work or right after. When my mother was at home, they would both be in the kitchen, and you could see the love emanating from him and vice versa.

The way that they both interacted with each other was always respectful, compassionate, and kind. To my dad, my mother was his world and as he indicated often, the most beautiful woman in the world. Even when they had differences of opinion, he was reasonable in his discussions with her. With us children, he was also that way. He made sure we had the best of everything.

He also ensured that in whatever area we wanted to participate in or whatever activity we did, he was present and assisting. On my first hike, he offered to transport the members of our [Scout] troop and stayed with some other fathers till we returned and then brought us back to our Scout house.

Even at university, he would cook food for us the entire week, and would pack it in containers and bring these for us to freeze so that we could microwave, and when our friends became close to us, he started cooking for them as well. His kindness was meted out to them as well.”