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Commentary: Celebrating my dad as a parent, mentor and role model

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Commentary: Celebrating my dad as a parent, mentor and role model
June 13
09:05 2019

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16. On this day we honor the dads, granddads and father figures who provided us with guidance, counseling and love. Our success today is tied directly to what they did yesterday. Years ago for many of us, our dads steered our lives in the right direction. While there were some detours and misdirections, we always managed to get back on track.

My father was definitely my parent. There was no mistake about it. I knew my lane as a son and I didn’t cross it. I loved my dad and was also intimidated by him. He towered over me for the longest time, so I was uncertain about the consequences of misbehaving. Over time, I realized my dad’s form of correction came in the way of lectures and embarrassment. He left the spankings up to my mom.

When my behavior was suspect and went south, he would sit me down for these exhaustive lectures. My Jamaican dad always had the time, so I had to sit and listen for an hour or two without saying a word. He made me feel ashamed of my bad behavior without ever touching me. He knew how to bring tears to my eyes. My dad was a master psychologist, but he was actually a dentist in Winston-Salem.

Now I realize as I grow older, my dad was my earliest mentor. There was a path he created that I followed and words of encouragement that he gave me. He gave me confidence and hope, traits that have remained with me to this day. While there were times when I balked at his instruction, I always gave into his guidance and wisdom.

I learned from him that wisdom comes with age. You can’t acquire it when you are young because you haven’t lived long enough or had enough experiences. After a while, I realized that the East Winston section of the city knew who my dad was. He had good standing in the community and other sought his advice.

In my youth, I did my best to watch my step. Most of the time that worked. However, I had more than my share of immature blunders. When you are young, you can’t help the falls. That is simply a part of growing up.

The term “role model” has been around for many years. My dad was my role model. I was blessed to be in the same house with him, unlike today, when boys see athletes and movie stars as role models. Many boys like me who came of age in the 1960s could always depend upon a strong male figure to give us what we needed. Going from boyhood to manhood was not easy. They gave of themselves in order to reach us and to teach us. They took pride in what we became. Our life’s work wasn’t as important as how we treated people and gained the respect of other people.

Our reputations are made by what we do for others. As our roads have varied, we know that our Lord will not judge us by our bank accounts, but He will judge us on our heart accounts. How open were we to helping our brothers and sisters? Did we really lend a helping hand?

If you are fortunate enough to still have your dad with you, celebrate him in a special way. He deserves it.

This column is dedicated to my dad, Dr. James B. Ewers.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at ewers,jr56@nullyahoo.com.

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