Here is an essay that I wrote for a writing class that I am taking at Loyola University. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my personal life.
Daddy and Me
Daddy was the silent controller of our family, a circumstance that I only learned explicitly late in Mother’s life. She told me that he pointed out our shortcomings and left it up to her to correct them. It was pretty much a whole lot of tough love for me, the oldest, as well as for my two brothers and the youngest, my sister.
I guess that I really implicitly understood Daddy’s power from a young age. Later in life, when he had built a fortune through superb investments in one stock—Aflac—his control was quite apparent to all in the family and otherwise.
From an early age I have emulated and sought the approval of Daddy and also from my brilliant, avid reading and well-educated Mother.
While Daddy lacked the college education—something that was not unusual in his time—he had the opportunity of observing a superb entrepreneur, his father for whom I am named. So when he joined the board of directors of Aflac, he recognized in its founders–the three Amos brothers–especially John Amos; exhibited the stuff of great entrepreneurs. He also understood the superb business talent in the second generation—Dan Amos who was instrumental in building the corporation. Dan is a natural leader with wonderful insight and performance; enhancing the stakes of customers, employees, agents, management, shareholders as well as operating as a genuinely good corporate citizen too.
Yes, Daddy made his mark in investing. While each of us had our own cases of bipolar disorder, he never understood even at an elementary level his condition—he may never have been informed of his diagnosis. But he was and is my hero—tough love and all. I pray for Daddy and Mother each night.
Daddy died at 85 and Mother at the same age about a year earlier. There’s a certain resilience that can arise from tough love—especially in my case if it is backed up in the long run with superb and extraordinary psychiatric care, something Daddy really needed, yet never sought or received.
I never saw Daddy when he was in the manic phase, but I did observe him in the depressive state—something that I myself suffered many times.
One would think that Daddy and I would identify with each other in our depths. I did visit him in Meridian, Mississippi many times during my depression. I still very much admire him for his investing success in Aflac and his savvy nature with money. Financial literacy is something that we all should seek in order to take care of ourselves, families and others.
My parents had a profound influence on their children and grandchildren. Daddy’s “leadership” of the family and his tenacity to carry on without medication or therapy is something that I would advise no one with bipolar disorder. But, through it all, I genuinely admire and respect him (Mother too).
He wasn’t a sophisticated and educated person and he had the challenges of his illness. He also had all sorts of personal problems, yet he demonstrated great tenacity in his method of investing—99 percent of his liquid assets in Aflac stock. But he carried on. Unfortunately, he was able to experience only one season before his death; that is at Davis Wade Stadium at Mississippi State University. It’s a football arena that seems to exhibit his toughness and resilience in a demanding sport. Our family–thanks to Daddy–have a 50-yard line box suite to see bulldog football. The intelligence and rigorous nature embodied in the sport reminds me of Daddy who played the game in junior college. He cared for our family and bulldog sports in a special, yet somewhat quiet manner.
Thank you, Daddy and Mother.