Dealing With my Dad’s Disappointment

An African man dressed in white

I had an extra year after I finished my final year at the University. Even after making efforts to sort it out, other issues came up to prolong my stay in school. The extra year and all the delay from school made my dad feel disappointed in me. It affected our relationship badly. There was friction between us and, as one would expect, it reflected in our day-to-day communication. When I returned home from school, I started freelancing as a graphic designer. Gradually, I started connecting with people who required my service. Then I partnered with a friend of mine and we both started a business. I focused all my energy and time on making the business work. Thankfully, it started paying off after a while.

During that period, I was still struggling in my relationship with my father. I observed the way he behaved towards me on different occasions, but I couldn’t approach him to express how unhappy I felt about it. Somehow, I thought to myself that maybe I needed to be more responsible and matured in handling his disappointment. But after a while, I noticed our conversations began to change; and by ‘change’ I mean in the right way. He took note of how resourceful and dedicated I was in building my business. That scored some excellent points with him. Even during periods when I did not have many jobs coming in, I would go out of my way to network, learn and refine my skills, or just keep creating new designs to stay busy. I ensured that I was never idle.

Seeing all of my efforts, my father started engaging with me on business ideas. Overtime this, to an extent, helped to revamp and strengthen our relationship remarkably. I am glad both of us are now in a better place. Of course, it took a while for my dad to see me differently, to accord me the fatherly respect, but that was his process and I just needed to be more open-minded and empathetic enough to accept it and prove myself.

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