Sometimes the best father figure is someone that God brings into your life that isn’t related by blood. It might even be the last person that you would think of. When I was in high school, my mother worked several jobs and my father was not available very often. I was left to myself a lot and didn’t always make the best choices. Some of these bad choices landed me in some trouble.
I was in the band for all four years of high school. The band director was a man named Bill Schroder. Mr. Schroder was a little rough around the edges. There were times when he would kick over a trash can or throw his keys because you didn’t get the part in the song right. Yet, there were other times when he would ask how my day was and what was going on in my life and he seemed genuinely interested.
At one point in eleventh grade, I was in so much trouble, there didn’t seem to be a way out. Mr. Schroder sat down and talked with me for a while and gave me some advice that has stuck with me through my adult life. He said, “This will probably be one of those things that keeps you awake at night. You will lie in bed and think about this point and time right now. Learn from it and move on. Otherwise, it will eat you up. Don’t let it.”
He also told me that life will be hard, that won’t change. You have to develop a thick skin and be the best person that you can be. Don’t let the hard times change you. When we were in class and it was time to play a certain part of a song, he could tell if the students didn’t practice their part, besides throwing something at us, he would tell us, “You can’t get through life being lazy. You have to work hard.” There also might have been some other colorful words that I left out.
Mr. Schroder also took it upon himself to keep an eye on me. He would call my mom when he saw me hanging out with other students that I seemed to get in the most trouble with. At that time in my life, I didn’t appreciate his effort. It wasn’t until several years later when I was talking with my husband about it, that I realized how much I appreciated all he did for me. I actually called the high school and thanked him. I’m not sure if he remembered who I was, but he replied back to me, “That’s what I’m here for my dear.”
Thank you to all the “father figures” that take a moment to invest their time and energy to helping others. Sometimes it can be as easy as a kind smile, or asking someone how their day is going, or the harder decision of a phone call to mom. Whether they appreciate it at the time or not, it will not go unnoticed.
A.K. Finch is a blogger, writer, and poet. She has had several of her poems published in the Ravens Perch and Haiku Hub. She lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter.