The Great Conciliator is a title normally associated with the likes of Booker T. Washington because of his uncanny ability to adapt to radically different contexts and work within the existing frameworks to accomplish strategic goals where so many others fail. My father was blessed with the same gift of camouflage and influence and never was this talent more on display than when acting as a mediator or translator in family dynamics.
It is said that all homes are broken, just broken to a different extent and in different ways. I tend to agree with the sentiment and the home my dad grew up in was no exception to the general rule. Growing up with 13 siblings, economic instability, and an unstable family setting impacted each child uniquely. My father’s gift was understanding how to communicate with each one of his siblings with the required subtlety in order to reach them, arguably unlike any other.
My dad did not abuse his gift for graft or personal gain but to heal where interpersonal conflicts caused damage. His was a multifaceted personality and perfection was not one of his virtues. He wrestled with personalized demons his whole life, like the rest, but what is objectively unquestionable is his loyalty to family, empathy for the deprived, dexterity in navigating diverse personalities, regardless of walk of life, and ability to win the trust and affection of those he encountered.