My father is an amazing storyteller who must one day sit down and write his own book. Researching, learning and sharing his knowledge are his guiding principles in life. Every time I talk to him, he shares new information he’s uncovered. His interest lies in a variety of different subjects from science to spirituality, anthropology, 60s Italian cinema, musicals, history, social commentary and good Turkish TV shows to watch.

It’s his passion for learning and curating information he finds valuable that got him into a career in broadcasting. Dad is a major inspiration for me in writing these articles and using innovative approaches such as video readings to share them across the internet.

I have an early childhood memory of Dad teaching me a life lesson.

One day, he showed me his one hand and asked “what does one hand have?” Nothing.

Then he showed both hands and clapped them. Two hands can make a noise.

If you want to get smart, you can snap the fingers of one hand to make noise. Still, remember, you can’t snap with just one finger. You need the thumb and index fingers to assist.

The point is that a single person in isolation has no impact. It’s our relationships with each other that enable us to achieve new things, make some noise and start a movement (a business, or a family, for that matter).

How to Crack Walnuts

The other really neat trick Dad showed me was how to break walnuts in the palms of his hand. He’d get two walnuts and use their hardness to allow the walnuts to break each other. This worked best if both walnuts were as hard as the other. When their hardness was matched, in Turkish we call these types “cetin ceviz”, both walnuts would crack open revealing their kernel. I think this is how it works with people in relationships too. Each person has to be powerful to bring out the other’s gifts.

I’m glad this is how my relationship is shaping up with Mum, Dad and Brother. We are all as strong-willed as each other and can challenge all parties to think better and to bring their best game to the table, or to AEEA, which is our family chat group. I’m really proud of it. No one shies away from expressing their views (in a considerate, positive, supportive and respectful way, of course).

The Power of Story

When I started writing, it was because I was inspired by the authors Dad brought into my life who wrote intriguing stories. There was Jack London with “Call of the Wild” about a domestic dog having to learn the rules of nature to survive and thrive in the tough wilderness of the Arctic and O. Henry with twist ends to his short stories and Charles Dickens who weaved elements of coincidence to lift up impoverished orphaned children to hero status.

Dad not only provided the books but also took the time to read them to me. It makes all the difference that he read them out loud because I became very curious about all the books lying around the house and I started reading them myself.

Finding True Value

Dad never bought into the magic of advertising or all the brand-building activities that well-known companies put out. I remember we’d gone and seen the first Batman movie (in 1989) because it was marketed so well and were severely disappointed that it turned out to be sloppily slapped together and hence made little sense.

As children, we were also advised to stay away from the expensive brands by our father. He’d explain to us that the reason brands are expensive is because the customer pays for their advertising costs too. So we’d find all the well-made alternatives that weren’t recognised brands and to this day I own very few pieces of clothing with logos. The glaring exception is my new Adidas sneakers which I find to look good and last long.

Dad, sometimes you gotta just say it’s worth it and splurge on something you know is good quality. Life is too short to not enjoy some of these luxuries. Thank you for all the teachings. Let’s stay open to learning from each other. That’s the only way we grow.

One thing I wish I could’ve picked up from Dad is his incredible ability to whistle. He whistles out tunes with incredible accuracy. It’s always had me in awe.

Over to you…

What are some things you learned from your father? How are your father’s teachings guiding you and offering some ease as you tackle challenges? E-mail me to tell me all about it,

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