Admittedly, in our modern world, sacrifice of one's own needs and wants is not a popular idea. Instead, we are taught in today's culture to live our lives our way, to put ourselves first and do what feels good in the moment. The only problem with this attitude is that, at least as far as fatherhood is concerned, it has never worked in any generation in world history.
Now, we are not suggesting that the level of sacrifice needs to be reflected at the level of the story we are going to share, however, what we want to inspire is an understanding that the commitment of being a father (or a mother of course) – no different than most things that we want to be great at (such as a business owner, a professional athlete, or a partner in a relationship) – all require work & sacrifice to be successful at them!
This past weekend while using a taxi service, we were introduced to a gentleman by the name of Solomon, a very sweet & gentle man who was originally from Ethiopia. Within moments of sitting in the taxi we began to inquire a little bit more of who Solomon is…and we would soon realize that although he might be low on the socioeconomic scale, he was high on the sacrifice & commitment scale.
Solomon was born and raised in Ethiopia. While growing up he was one of few people in his village that were fortunate enough to get an education. In his early 20’s he got married to his wife who he met in school. Not long after they had their first-born and within a couple of years they had their second. It was at this point he knew that he had to find a way to better provide for both his wife and his two daughters. So he applied for an educational & immigration lottery to have the opportunity to get post-secondary education in the US. In 2011, there was over 7.9 million qualified entries that were received in a 30-day application period with only 4,900 being selected from Ethiopia. Solomon was one of them.
After being accepted, Solomon moved to Phoenix, Arizona in the United States of America, to find future opportunity & freedom for himself and his family. Since he immigrated, he has been enrolled in a Nursing program and during the evenings he has worked as a cab driver so that he can make money to support himself (while he goes to school) and his family back home. It has been nearly 2 years since he has been back to Ethiopia to see his family and when asked why he hasn’t been able to go back, he replied ‘Unfortunately the cost to travel takes money away to support my family and education’.
The story of Solomon’s path can teach us further about sacrifice, as well as, feelings & emotions such as being thankful for what we have, the opportunity we are exposed to, and the level of humility we should strive for. Solomon is choosing to be great. His path is much more difficult than many of ours in North America – yet he choose to reach for what he could get his hands on...and maximize the opportunity in order to get ahead. For him, the underlying fire that fuelled his desire and dedication was his children...and his efforts to be a great father!