Choices have consequences, so they say. But in our home, my dad came first and then consequences later. Every time you were about to do something stupid or play about with your studies, thinking about my dad was enough to shape you up.
My father valued education and the only way any of us was going to enjoy a quiet and peaceful holiday was by performing well. One time I scored a mean score of C+. I had a D in some subject which must have been mathematics and C in most of the subjects.
Unfortunately, the school did not allow us to take our report form home with us. They were sent through the postman. The results always arrived 2 weeks after closing school. So every time my dad went to town, I’d spend the entire day having a stomach ache. Sometimes it was so bad that I would spend the entire day near a toilet because, heh. The anxiety was enough to cause a running stomach.
My father was someone who could not hide what he was feeling. If he did not blast me after coming from town then I used to know that I have performed well enough to be cut some slack. This time, I woke up at 10 am and sat on the couch across my father. I quietly had my breakfast as I watched the TV. My father preferred reading a newspaper in the morning.
After I was well fed, I lay on the couch as if to extend my sleep.
“Terry”, my dad called.
“Yes”, I answered while still lying on the couch.
“This is my house and you should be attentive when I am talking to you. Can you sit upright!”
I sat up as if something had stung me. “I see you have decided to do other things apart from studying”.
My heart sunk in my stomach. I knew that that was the day that had been made. I was going to cry a river.
He handed me my report form to have a look. I already knew that I had failed. I had seen my question papers and calculated my marks. I had been waiting for this day but how it came made me feel as if a rug had been pulled from underneath my feet.
I sat looking at my report form and holding my report form. I dared not look at my father’s eyes. I could already feel the glare. Then he started.
“With these marks, what profession do you think would suit you?”. I listened as he ruled out all the professions and for sure, there was nothing left for me. I have never felt bad in my life like that day. For the first time, I regretted not studying. I could not even account for what I did at school.
Well, in my defence I had been out of school mostly attending festivals and meeting the boys. I dared not tell my dad about it because he would have demanded that I stop going for music festivals and that would have shattered me. Music was life. I loved singing set pieces, recitals, the road trips that came with participating in music festivals.
However, the effort I was putting in extracurricular activities was not being extended in my studies. That day my father said many things that hurt me but also made me resolve to up my game in my studies. I was tired of butting heads with him over my performance.
I kept my word. I studied and improved. I started attending contests here and there. I went on academic trips. I loved Biology and Chemistry. I dreamed to pursue Forensic Medicine or Clinical Medicine.
I performed well. I got the grades but pursued none of the above but that is a story for another day. In hindsight, I’m grateful that my father put his foot down when it came to education because there is a chance that all of us would have shoot our own feet.