Part of the mission of The Upbeat Dad is to highlight men who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to be super dads. In carrying out this mission, each Friday we will highlight an individual deserving of being recognized as Upbeat Dad of the Week.
He was a trusted figure in the community – both in church and school. I do not recall one moment when it was just our family of 6 living in the home. There were always other young people – children of family members or friends – who lived with us. My parents were entrusted with the task of educating and raising other people’s children so that they would become responsible citizens. They loved each one, as if they were their own.
Our family migrated to the United States almost 30 years ago but still today people speak of the work both my parents did. There are people in our old community who view my father with such reverence because of how he helped to shape and mold their lives and those of their children. There are places in Jamaica that I could visit today and get the royal treatment, simply by saying, “I’m Teacher Walters’ son.” His influence has literally impacted a generation.
I have learned so much from my father. I will highlight a few of these lessons here:
- It is better to give than to receive. He has given selflessly to help others to accomplish their life goals. It wasn’t an inconvenience for him to teach others the lessons that have guided his life – rather it was a responsibility.
- Be involved in the community. Each of us has the responsibility to “brighten the corners where we are.” With community involvement, we help to create synergy that enriches our communities.
- Respect for authority. As a school principal and the head of our home, he was a strict disciplinarian. He wasn’t mean-spirited by any means. He just emphasized the importance of us respecting the authorities placed over us - in the home, school and in the world-at-large.
- Love for family. The cornerstone of life is the family structure. Studies repeatedly show that closely knit two-parent households produce well-adjusted, responsible citizens. My siblings and I all have advanced degrees and are successful in our own endeavors. We have accomplished many good things, which we all attribute to the environment in which we grew up.