BUSINESS & LIFE: Happy Father’s Day

Dr. Valda Henry
Dr. Valda Henry

I took my first sabbatical from my Column, “Business and Life,” the weekend of Father’s Day 2014, when try as I did to pen an article, nothing was happening and with so many things going on, I knew I had to stop. I have written a few articles in the intervening year and for the last two weeks, the urgings to recommence have been strong. I have written an article and there is a topic bursting to be written, however, they will wait while this week I focus on Father’s Day and stop to pay tribute to my father, Elkin Bernard Henry.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers! May the Lord continue to Bless you so you can continue to touch your children’s lives meaningfully, providing an anchor and security to enable them to fulfil God’s purpose in their lives. I pay special tribute to former President, His Excellency Eluid Williams, who is a second father to me. His love, constancy, advice, generosity, kindness have shaped and positively influenced my life. I Thank you, I Love You, I Bless You!

I extend condolences to the family and friends of our former President, His Excellency Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool. May you be comforted by your happy memories of him and by the knowledge that he touched so many lives positively!

July 20, 2015 will be the tenth anniversary of my father’s move to the great beyond, and I think of him every day and talk to and about him often. When something good has happened, we say, “Daddy would have been so happy and proud!” When there is a decision to make, we say “What would Daddy say/do?” And on other occasions we say, “Daddy would have said or done…” My father was a larger than life figure to me and he has impacted my life and those of my siblings tremendously positively! I think my father was the smartest, kindest man on God’s earth. For his 80th birthday in 2003, we all wrote an essay on how Daddy impacted our lives and the similarities in the essays in terms of Daddy’s impact on our lives were amazing. Today, I reproduce excerpts of my essay in tribute to my father who gave me wings to fly:

“There are so many things I admire about my father but tonight I will focus on just a few. My father never tried to re-live his life through his children and never pressured us into being anything. Yet, we all knew that we had to achieve and that education was the key. Our house was like a library and for a while we were in fact the library in Mahaut lending books to children. There were many of us, and people would often express surprise that our house was so quiet. The reason was that we would often congregate in one room and just read. There was an unspoken rule in our house that you did not disturb anyone who was reading unless it was a matter of life or death and literally that. And even today, I hate being disturbed while I am reading. This is one reason I believe gossip was never a big thing in our lives and still isn’t.

Education was the watchword at our house. Growing up, my father had some wealth and some cash, yet he always told us that what he had was his to do with as he pleased and so we should not make any plans on his things. He continued that the only thing he would give us was education and with that we could be anything we wanted and have much more than he ever had. That was a lesson I took to heart and learned well; so much so when I was buying land and he was questioning me why, when he could give me a lot, I reminded him of his admonitions!

I tell you my father never hesitated even for a millisecond in signing over his tittles as collateral for our student’s loans. When everyone thought I was crazy to take a loan to do a PhD, my father without a stumble was with me at the AID Bank signing away. Thankfully, the Lord in his goodness, kindness and mercy, sent me a scholarship.

My father believed in self-sufficiency and I can still hear him saying “you do not borrow things from people. If you need something you buy it yourself or do without if you cannot afford it, for you borrow from someone, you destroy it, you must replace it. Often times, the item may have been faulty but that is irrelevant, so the money you did not have to get your own, you must find to replace and you are still without”. Something else I can always hear him say; “You borrow only from the bank, for the bank cannot stop you on the road and demand payment or their items back…a person can”. One of the things my friends always accuse me of is my inability to receive and in having everything. And for that I place the blame squarely on my father!! I tell them, “you go speak to my father about that”!

My father hated “news carrying”, so if you ever went to him with a story that you saw one of my other siblings doing something, his first words would be “And what did you do?”… Well with that response, you know that there was no news carrying, and if you saw someone doing something that you deemed unacceptable, you had to take action. To this day, we are always correcting each other!

The confidence I have has to come almost 100% from my father. My father always said to us we could be anything we wanted to be and that the only limitations we faced were the ones we created ourselves, and with those words, I knew that I could take on the world. And have I tried?!!!!!!!!!!!

My father was not one for panicking and saw problems not as obstacles but opportunities or challenges to overcome. He did not believe in whining, griping and blaming. If there was a problem, the focus should be on solutions. And if a solution could not be found, then you forget about it! That drove my older siblings absolutely crazy, for this attitude manifested a nonchalant view to life.

My father was generous to a fault and … placed very little value on material things, holding firm to the view that people are defined not by what they have but who they are: the content of their character. With that came a generosity and humility, which I think all his children possess. We also however appreciate the need for financial planning and I detest being on the “financial edge” or any edge for that matter.

Growing up our house was always full of people as our friends felt welcomed and very much at home. We had some friends who visited us every summer from the day school closed to the day before it re-opened. We had others who were at home so regularly you would be forgiven for thinking they lived with us and were part of our family. For in fact they were. We had a very large playroom with all sorts of games: every board game imaginable, table tennis and a pools table and friends and children from Mahaut could often be found at home. Some parents knew that when their children were not at home, they were at ours.

How can I talk about my father and not talk politics when politics is in his very vein and so was part and parcel of our lives? My first recollection of my father’s involvement in politics was the presence of clocks in every corner of our house. I think we had a clock of every colour, shape, size and make. I must have known to tell the time before I could walk and before I could say “Mama” or “Daddy”. My father sometimes sacrificed his family for politics for some decisions he took were clearly not in the family’s best interest. Yet with all his political involvement, my father never tried to influence us to support the party he did, not even when he went up for election in 1980! My father has never taken or invited us to any motorcade, rally or convention. To date, I have never been to any. I clearly remember a time when one of my sisters was a fanatic of an opposition party and not one word of objection from my father.

This, as I already told you was one of the virtues of my father, allowing his children to be themselves. No pressure to be what he would like them to be or what he wished he was or did. That does not say he did not advice and guide but always the decision was yours. He wanted me to do Law or Accounting but when I chose Management, he supported me fully.

So today, I owe to a large part the woman I am to my father… Daddy, how can I thank you? By loving you unconditionally, and you know that I do. I love you; my dearest, dearest father and I would not trade you for any other. I am happy and proud to be your daughter.”

I can be reached at [email protected] or Tel: 767 449 9649.

Until we meet again, may God continue to hold us in the Palm of His Hands.

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  1. Wow
    June 25, 2015

    Nicely said Doc. Welcome bsck

  2. ummmm
    June 23, 2015

    welcome back…refreshing

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