I miss my father every single day. He pops into my head each and every day. I have a great love for all of my family. Near and far. Because I was and am fortunate. I get that. Not a one of them perfect. All perfect for me. But my father was special. I also get that one day I need to really process that he is no longer here.
But I was thinking of a story today that I have heard more than once. Never from him. But from his six sisters.
He was a young fellow. Good at the maths as they say. But due to the times and my Granda looking for work they moved around Ireland a bit in their youth.
My dad was a student at a school. And apparently due to the moves he wasn’t up to snuff in a certain subject. His teacher was a poor excuse of an educator and a poor excuse of a human being. On this one day he beat my father mercilessly in the classroom. In front of everyone.
Could you possibly imagine?
My dear father, ashamed and embarrassed, did not race home that day. But went somewhere to hide.
When his mother, my Granny, found out what happened she immediately went to the parish priest to lodge her complaint. Only to be told that the teacher in question had a family to support and that there was nothing he could do. Hands tied.
This “teacher” was an alcoholic brute.
My father never finished high school. Do I even have to wonder why?
A young kid who won a dog who they named Nully (from Nollaig) because he was clever at math.
I remember him sitting at the kitchen table (I was horrible at math-still am) trying to teach me percentages and fractions with a dollar bill. Not quite understanding why I couldn’t get it.
For some (this) reason I have never judged people by the degrees on their walls (or the lack of degrees) but rather how they treated their fellow human beings.
I dropped out of college. And my father was upset. I, of course, didn’t know the story of his curtailed education and wouldn’t know until years later.
But I remember, when I was speed dating my soon to be husband, a work mate of mine asked me if “K” would be bothered by the fact that I hadn’t completed my degree. Oh my gosh! It had never occurred to me and it had never come up in our conversations. So I immediately asked him if it would be an issue.
He said, “Mary, some of the smartest, most intelligent people that I have met in my life did not have a college education. Some had no education at all. You not having a degree means nothing to me.”
Yeah, so I married him. Because I always liked his answers.
I am not sure exactly what my point is in this posting. Because I am totally ensuring my own children get the best education possible.
But I think my point is this. Or should I say points?
To sacrifice, hurt and humiliate a child will always be wrong. Always. Always. Always.
A degree hanging on the wall is just that. A framed document on the wall. What you do with it and how you treat people is really what matters.
And we all have an obligation to protect our youth. Always. Always. Always.