The dictionary definition of humility is ‘the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.’
There are plenty of humble people in the world, who pass by unnoticed by many, quietly going about their business, making a huge difference to others without ever realising.
I am going to talk about one such person who is very important to me: my dad.
He was a teacher, for most of his career he worked in the same FE college in my home town.
He married my mum when he was 22 years old, and my brother and sister came into this newly formed family within a few short years. My dad has always worked hard, always done whatever has been asked of him, or has needed to be done. He trained to be a teacher whilst juggling the demands of a young family and a part time job (which was needed to keep them above the poverty line). I wasn’t born then, I came along a lot later (I was a surprise according to my mum-although she assures me it was a happy one!).
By the time I made my appearance in the world he was already qualified. In fact I was born in Malawi, although my family hail from Scotland, because my dad had been lucky enough to get the opportunity to teach engineering abroad. I lived in 4 different countries by the time I was 8 years old. Eventually we settled down in Suffolk and this is where my dad has remained ever since-where he spent the rest of his career teaching.
At some point (I can’t remember exactly when) my dad changed to teaching maths-he taught adult numeracy to people who had returned to education as an adult, full of fear and hang ups from their past experiences and he enabled them to develop the basic maths skills they would need to start getting ahead in life. He made a huge difference to countless peoples lives-but the way he will see it is that he was only doing his job.
I know what a difference he made to people because I have been privileged to meet many of them. I can’t count the amount of times I have been asked ‘Are you John’s son?’ by people I have met who then go on to tell me ‘he helped me get my maths qualification, I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t for him.’
I doubt whether my dad would ever think about what he has done in this way, but I do, and I am incredibly proud of him. He is a quiet man and has always been patient and kind (it’s probably what made him a good teacher). He has never been much of a talker and he has never been great at sharing his feelings but he has always shown how much he cares for people with his actions. He’s in his late 70’s now and he still doesn’t stop moving, he is always on the go, always doing something, and if anyone asks he will always help.
My dad is a humble guy; to me he is an everyday hero, doing the same remarkable things that countless others do every day, not for recognition but just because that is who they are. I couldn’t be prouder of him.