Photo: courtesy of Azad Yasin Photography.
I’ve always loved talking to my Dad. Over the years his words of wisdom have significantly helped to shape my sense of identity. I’ve been a Dad for 5 years and recently I started to think about the conversations I’ll have with my son as he matures. The kind of interactions we will have that will shape how he thinks; how he treats others; how he perceives himself; that will affirm him, and that’s when I remembered…the moment.
It was 17 years ago. My parents were returning from a trip to Jamaica. I’d been staying with family friends whilst my folks were away and I was so excited they were arriving home that I decided to cook them a ‘welcome back’ meal. I remember the menu: honey-stew chicken and white rice. Now you need to understand, my mum did most of the cooking. Okay, pretty much all of the cooking! She was blessed with the factory default set of Jamaican cooking abilities one receives at birth. And my Dad’s curry goat was fire! So, the pressure was on.
I prepared the ingredients and embarked upon creating my first quasi-Caribbean dish for my Jamaican parents. My eldest sister popped in to the kitchen, sampled the gravy and gave me the ‘thumbs up’ I needed to see it through to completion. Now, I wasn’t a master of the rice to water ratio at the time but, as they say, “I did my ting, still.”
My parents arrived home later that afternoon and I eagerly served their food and brought it to them, then left them to it! Nervously, I awaited the feedback.
Once they had eaten, I sheepishly made my way upstairs to collect their plates, awaiting the verdict. I remember Dad’s widened eyes as I received his plate. Was it a look of surprise, distaste, confusion? At that moment, everything else in the room may as well have disappeared as my focus was drawn directly to my Dad. He clenched his fist, extended his arm and gave me the most reassuring fist-bump I’d ever received. “You liked it?” I asked. He spoke, fresh from J.A. and the patois flowed straight from his lips: “Son, yuh-nuh-si how mi almost wax ahf di plate?”
Translation: the meal was so nice I almost ate the plate!
I was elated. “Well done son,” he reinforced, reassuringly.
He told me he was proud and encouraged me to continue cooking. This moment of affirmation meant so much to me. I knew that he was proud. I knew that I had accomplished something, and my Dad had noticed.
Fast forward 17 years and I’ve since learned that my first quasi-Caribbean dish is way too “sweet” for my wife’s taste-buds, who doesn’t hold the same amount of appreciation for it that my Dad once did! Nonetheless, as I reflect I realise it wasn’t really about the meal. Whether he loved the meal or not, in his deep love for me as a maturing son, he chose to season me with encouragement and douse me with affirmation. Perhaps it was this moment with my Dad why I now love cooking for my family, and baking with my kids. Perhaps it’s why I often feel compelled to say, “Babes, you sit down and let me serve you instead.” That experience is one of the reasons I love to attend to my family.
I wish every young man could experience moments like this. And whilst I know that this may not be an experience everyone can relate to, I do know that every man, father or not, holds the words that can shape the heart, mind and esteem of the young men who look up to them. These moments can be defining and life-changing. Here’s to many more like it.
JCMC Challenge: Seek out an opportunity to affirm and encourage a young person. I’d love you to share your experiences in the comments section.
26 thoughts on “Dad Talks #1 – “Son, yuh-nuh-si how mi almost wax ahf di plate?!””
Love this Cal-I. What a special moment and you are so right, these moments do shape us in so many ways. As a mother I’m constantly thinking about the far-reaching impact of the moments I have with my son today. Bless up!
Trudee! Thank you for your comment. They so do. I thank God for mothers like you. Mum gets 10! Every time!
That’s a funny story right there 😃 but it shows the importance of a Father, son relationship and how it helped to groom you . I’m curious did your Mom liked it too ?
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Glad you enjoyed my story. You have asked a good question! You know, I genuinely don’t remember her precise reaction but like to imagine that she was so impressed that she passed out!😄
HA! Yes – that affirming moment is real. My father passed on when I was just 18yrs old so I missed out on some potentially great moments in adulthood with him. That being said, I know his example shown to me of what being a responsible man is; live in me strongly today.
In my daily work, I am in contact with lots of young people from 16-19 yrs old. They are in that awkward place in between the security of childhood and the vulnerability of being an adult. Often, when I have to interact with them from a disciplinarian’s perspective – I find myself having to wade through hormones, emotions and pride before I can even reach them; the core of their being.
It really does take a caring soul to deal with them on a level that actually helps and improves their experience during this difficult transition of their life. As a man, I find that my position is not only unique, but rare – in this society where men seem to not be as involved in rearing their own young as much as would be ideal.
Awesome post Cal-I!!!
Wow! Such an insight, Miikz. Thank you for your comment. You are exactly who we need working with our young people. Big love brother!
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Yes Cal-I. This is a good reminder of how our reactions to our children’s efforts can shape the way they see themselves and how they approach challenges.
My mother’s encouragement is why I enjoy baking so much and will often do so for visitors to my home.
Thank you for this.
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Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing, Ade.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 beautiful and if only more men felt that way.
Haha! They are out there! I’m hopeful!
You have done well. There weren’t any father figure in my brother’s life but my mother thought them how to cook, wash and iron. She always say to them ^When you know how to cook and how your food should taste then you won^t eat rubbish from woman or man. You are the perfect example of a dad. May God continue to cover you and that you will not only teach your son and daughter but your wisdom will be extended to young men you come in contact with. Stay blessed
Thank you, Ma Hanson. It’s a learning journey. I try, make mistakes and continue to grow and develop. I Thank God for the loving community (home and church) that surrounded as I matured.
Hey son, thank you for sharing some of your childhood memories.. I feel very uplifted and honoured to be remembered by you with such warmth, love and affection.. It is very heartwarming to know that you have enshrined me in your inner most thoughts as a meaningfu signpost as well as a positive role model throughout your life’s journey. I found Your latest revelations very moving, it touched me in a special way and I feel so humbled.. Once again son, you’ve knock the ball out of the park..
Papa dadsta.. 🙂
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Papa Mikes! What can I say, Dad? I Thank God for you.
Cal-I this is AWESOME in EVERY sense of the word!
After your parents…and possibly Zara….there’s no one more proud! (that may be disputed by your siblings 😊)
Well done – continue to be uniquely you; an inspiration and blessing through whatever medium. Much love x
Ma! 😄 Thank you so much. Ever encouraging and supportive.
I read the comment in dad’s voice! I can imagine this moment very well. 😂
Can’t wait to read more 😭❤. Proud of you bro x
Thanks sis! Yes, you know the voice!😆 ❤
It’s your insight that makes you a great man and father and also someone to be admired. Love you bro
Aww, bro. Thank you. I stand on the shoulders of giants-really do. Love you too lil’ bro.
This was ‘food’ for thought.
A beautiful and essential ‘rites of passage’ Journey, thank you for sharing it with us.
Aunty Ngozi! 😃 Thank you for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed. Much love.
Loved the translation 😂😂🤣
Had to be done bro. 😄
Beautiful Cal-I your family is truly blessed xx
Thanks for stopping by, Sophia. Love and blessings to you. x