Advice from my Father

Sometime in 2010, I had invited my dad over to Abuja for a business deal. It promised to be a huge one, worth several hundreds of millions, and I needed him to come in with his technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of the oil and gas industry in order to seal the deal. I had also gotten the cooperation of two friends of mine- or so I thought….

On the appointed deal day, my dad had flown into town, my second business partner and a friend of mine had also gotten his uncle to clear his busy schedule and come into Abuja for this particular meeting. All that remained was the cooperation of our other mutual friend (whose name will not be mentioned to protect the not-so-innocent), when suddenly with no excuses or apologies he backed off the business transaction and simultaneously shut down all means of communication and access to the key individual with the final decision, who so happened to be his father.

My eyes went red as I went into blood-rage. I was fuming with anger and completely beside myself with rage. It wasn’t that I couldn’t take a bit of disappointment, but I had involved the most important person in my life as at the time- my father. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of having let him down so badly.

My dad observed the entire fiasco with a dispassionate interest, and after I had my time to rant and vent, he told me something I would never forget. He said and I’ll paraphrase as best as I can recall,

“Son, in life you would have friends like these who would disappoint you. But you must never completely severe your relationship with them. Instead relegate the importance of the relationship in your life to a much lower position. Reduce the amount of time you spend with them also. But never completely abandon a friendship or make them enemies. Even a beggarly friend comes in handy when you need to learn the art of begging”.

Fortunately I listened and heeded to his advice. The next day he flew back home and I tried my best to calm down, drink several cold bottles of Coke (my favourite poison) and tried to put the matter behind me as much as possible. I even managed to still maintain a pleasant personality towards the friend who had disappointed us at the last minute. Three years later the same “friend” did a most surprising thing and bought me a brand new car as a wedding present.

My dad is late now and never got to see the car and eventual outcome of what I once viewed as irreconcilable differences. Since then I have come to learn that human beings do the best with what they have or know at any particular time. We may never know what causes their actions or what motives inform their habits. However understanding that although we may not be able to control their actions just like the weather, we can adequately plan for it and adjust accordingly. Such flexibility in caring about the process of a deal without being strung on the eventual outcome goes a long way to ensuring we maintain our positive personality, manage our expectations and keep smiling.

And that’s a picture of my father below… Continue to rest in peace Daddy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.

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29 thoughts on “Advice from my Father

  1. Its one of those philosophy I strongly believe in. A friend that disappoint you today may do what will make you happy tomorrow. Never cut ties completely You never know who may come to your rescue when you need it. It might be the last expected person.
    Good write there Mr. Ebuke. I wish I can put pieces together like you to make a whole meaningful piece like this. God bless you.

  2. Wonderful piece as usual! Rest on dad… Though we never met while you were with us, we miss such great brain! I join my friend in celebrating you.

  3. Thank you sir for this Billion Dollar advise you shared, Am currently experiencing this I had wanted to cut off completely but this article just motivated me to keep the friendship rolling but on lowkey…. RIP Dad!

  4. Wish I had friends like this…they’ll pissed u off and pat your back with a brand new car.
    Sadly the ones I have will pass u off and most probably steal your ride, lol.
    Beautiful piece Ebuka, always look forward to reading your daily digests.
    Your Dad, is in a better place and must be proud of you

  5. The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. If you know your friends then it is easy to know how to associate with them. Never put a stop to any friendship cos no one knows tomorrow. Cause things to happen to know your real friend.

  6. The death of philosopher will and can never be the end of his teachings. Thanks for sharing Cous, RIP Ezeani.

  7. Wow! Boss your piece truly emphasizes for me the power of Coaching and mentoring…Your father lives on and is still touching lives. Thank you again boss

  8. Ebuka (Jon Pol)
    In life we live and we learn…. and I’ve learnt something today.
    “Even a beggarly friend comes in handy when you need to learn the art of begging”. Wisest thing i’ve heard in a very long time.

    • Thank you a million Mr Ebuka.Am realy inspired about the kind of thoughts your late dad possessed while on earth.Its realy horrible what some people called friends do,especially when you have nothing to offer at the time.Nonetheless,we have to learn how to forgive and accommodate all kinds of attitude for the sake of Christ.I have been a victim of circumstance many,many times because of issues of this nature.But God is ever faithful even if men deride us.God bless your family.