October 21, 2000, my father succumbed to metastatic pancreatic cancer. Within one week, we had buried him and life was back to normal or at least as normal as could be with all things considered. So normal was in the sense that my week of bereavement was over and it was time to return to work.
At the time, I was one month away from a college degree. I had moved back home with my parents during my dad’s last few months. The quality time that we he and I spent together was amazing. We didn’t really go anywhere or do a lot. We sat on the porch, mostly talking about life. I even had an opportunity to ask his opinion on a few girlfriend choices.
[box_light]My father knew his days were rapidly coming to a close. He was a great man. He wasn’t as sensitive with me as he was my sister. He was no non-sense and a hard worker. He instilled those same work ethics in me. I often found myself cutting grass, changing dump truck tires, and working on pipes under the house. He insisted that I knew how to take care of myself.[/box_light]
It wasn’t until the Monday following my father’s funeral that everything I detested about his no nonsense approach to raising me came full circle. I was at work when my mother called to tell me that a water pipe had burst in the wall and the house was flooding. Greif that I had felt the previous week quickly turned to anger, as my dad was not there to fix this problem.
Then the epiphany happened. My dad didn’t have a lot of money. He never graduated from high school, but what he did have was a legacy and that legacy was me. That’s what he was giving me all those times when I couldn’t play if work wasn’t complete. Pressure may burst pipes, but that day, the busted pipe in the wall helped me realize legacy. This legacy was what he was conveying when I had to start over on a task that was done with a half effort. My father was leaving a legacy of manhood.
Every man has the responsibility to leave something with his children and the world in general. That something is called legacy. Legacy is more that real estate or money. It’s a way of life that points the way to progress for coming generations. The pipe bursting was a defining moment in my life. It was the moment that I realized that there is nothing more important to a boy becoming a man than a man’s influence in that process.
The point is clear. The message is simple. Men are to ensure the success of their successors through the sharing of this institutional well of manly knowledge that creates systemic change for men in our community. The ills in our community point to their own solution. Sometimes a burst pipe is all a boy needs to realize there is a man inside of him who is capable of fixing it.
Written by Tony Yarber. Follow him on Twitter @TonyYarber.