“It is much better to be respected rather than to be feared,” a wise mine is quoted as having stated that. The simplicity of this sentence makes it easy to be ignored, but the bitter truth and depth of its wisdom can only be fully realized from experience, something that I had the misfortune or fortune of discovering early in life, relying on what angle one looks at it from. Life has a knack of throwing things in our way that may additionally make or break us, certain memories that are invariably etched in our minds and impact our perception and outlook of life.
Every child is born innocent, and I was not an exception. However, considering that no one chooses the kind of family that they would have wanted to be born into, I found myself in one made up of some crazies. One of my uncles happened to be a strict disciplinarian and had a reputation for having little tolerance for nonsense from anyone, especially his children. He was known for punishing his children for the slightest mistakes. The tragedy of it is that he enjoyed that and felt an ego boost when after work, the mere sound of his heavy boots approaching the door would send his children scampering for safety. They would stay in the confines of their rooms away from the brute that was their father. They dreaded him.
Although my uncle had no problem with me, I could see that the eating alone on the dinner table was taking a toll on him. He was getting lonelier with every single passing day. He thought that the fear instilled in his children would make them treasure him more; the truth is they could not wait to leave and go to college. It is from there that I made a vow never to be a brute to my future children but rather to draw with love. I would rather be respected than feared.