Father knows best. Our statements often sound like hyperbole until our children prove us right.
Here’s a true story that’s worth sharing:
Michael Jordan was born in 1963, in the slums of Brooklyn, New York. He had four siblings and his father’s earnings were not sufficient to provide for the whole family.
He grew up in a poor neighbourhood. Exposed to mindless violence and heavy discrimination in the slums, he saw for himself only a hopeless future.
His father saw in Michael, a lost soul and decided to do something. He gave Michael, who was 13 years old, a piece of used clothing and asked: “What do you think the value of this outfit would be?”
Jordan replied,”Maybe one dollar.”
His father asked, “Can you sell it for two dollars? If you can sell it, it would mean that you are a big help to your family.”
Jordan nodded his head, “I’ll try, but no guarantee that I’ll be successful.”
Jordan carefully washed the cloth clean. Because they didn’t have an iron, to smoothen the cloth, he levelled it with a clothes brush on a flat board, then kept it in the sun to dry. The next day, he brought the clothes to a crowded underground station. After offering it for more than six hours. Jordan finally managed to sell it for $2. He took the two dollar bill and ran home.
After that, everyday he looked for used clothing, washed and ironed it, and sold it in the crowd. More than ten days later, his father again gave him a piece of used clothing, “Can you think of a way you can sell this for 20 bucks?”
Aghast, Jordan said, “How is it possible? This outfit can only fetch two dollars at the most.”
His father replied, “Why don’t you try it first? There might be a way.” After breaking his head for a few hours, finally, Jordan got an idea.
He asked for cousin’s help to paint a picture of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on the garment. Then he tried to sell it in the school where the children of the rich study. Soon a housekeeper, who was there to pick his master, bought that outfit for his master. The master was a little boy of only 10 years. He loved it so much and he gave a five dollar tip. 25 dollars was a huge amount for Jordan, the equivalent of a month’s salary of his father.
When he got home, his father gave him yet another piece of used clothing, “Are you able to resell it at a price of 200 dollars?” Jordan’s eyes lit up.
This time, Jordan accepted the clothes without the slightest doubt. Two months later a popular movie actress from the movie “Charlie’s Angels”, Farah Fawcett came to New York for her Movie promos. After the press conference, Jordan made his way through the security forces to reach the side of Farah Fawcett and requested her autograph on the piece of clothing. When Fawcett saw this innocent child asking for her autograph, she gladly signed it.
Jordan was shouting very excitedly, “This is a jersey signed by Miss Farah Fawcett, the selling price is 200 dollars!” He auctioned off the clothes, to a businessman for a price of 1,200 dollars!
Upon returning home, his father broke into TEARS and said, “I am amazed that you did it My child! You’re really great! “
That night, Jordan slept alongside his father. His father said, “Son, in your experience selling these three pieces of clothing, what did you learn about success?”
Jordan replied, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
His father nodded his head, then shook his head, “What you say is not entirely wrong! But that was not my intention. I just wanted to show you that a piece of used clothing which is worth only a dollar can also be increased in value, Then how about us – living and thinking humans? We may be darker and poorer, but what if we CAN increase our VALUE.”
This thought enlightened young Jordan. Even a piece of used clothing could be made dignified, then why not me? There is absolutely no reason to underestimate myself.
From then on, Michael Jordan felt that his future would be beautiful and full of hope.
He went on to become the greatest basketball player of all times.
Here’s another one. Like Jordan, it’s about another legend in the making in sports–Tiger Woods.
Tiger’s father Earl Woods, as the world would find out, knew his son better than anyone else. After all, he had been there from the beginning, the very early beginning. After seeing Tiger, not yet a year old, solidly strike his first golf shot, in a scene recounted in Tiger by John Strege, Earl ran from his makeshift garage driving range inside the house and shouted to his wife, Kultida, “We have a genius on our hands.”
Earl would go on to teach Tiger about personal integrity, focus, commitment and being a good person. Earl was known for praising Tiger for his efforts, not his accomplishments. He was known for making Tiger always fight, never giving up no matter what the circumstances.
Earl Woods said he made it clear his purpose was “not to raise a golfer. I wanted to raise a good person.”
These two stories took me to one afterthought: sons are building blocks of dreams made by fathers.
And then I though of two men I know so well being my kumpadres–the church godfathers of my own son Magnus–Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and businessman/Presidential Adviser for Sports Glenn Escandor.
Senator Bong, who finished no. 3 in May’s Senatorial race, saw his son Christian Lawrence rise up to place no. 3 in the last Licensure Examinations for Certified Public Accountants, arguably one of the toughest professional exams in the country.
Glenn, who is also nicknamed Bong to his family, saw his son grow from a bungling oversized kid playing in the SBP and passerelle tournaments for Ateneo de Davao University to become a member of the fabled De La Salle University Green Archers basketball team in the UAAP. At 6-3, Francis Gabriel has a lot of future ahead of him in the Green Archers fold.
You can feel the pride oozing from these two who plays basketball together night in and night out before Bong the Senator had busier days attending to the side of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Indeed, fathers will do everything for a son because whatever he becomes will also be his own accomplishment in this world.
And I remember my dad who I lost 18 years ago, he told me: Son, one day you will have a son of your own and you will understand me perfectly.
I do now.