Our GIF Role Model – Mr. Ericsson Parry of Saint Etienne
Although nobody is perfect, our culture is in dire need of role models that we can relate to and not the unrealistic characters that invade our lives through our television screens. The journey of life is full of tough situations and surprises so people who make the best out of every situation at any given moment, deserve to be known and followed even if from a distance. It is with this in mind that GIF wishes to introduce our GIF role model for the season in the person of Mr. Ericsson Parry.
Mr. Ericsson Parry graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon in 1980. He thereafter taught for some time Nigeria. He moved to France in 1985, where he did a one-year training in auto mechanics. He also studied at the University of Jean Monnet and graduated with a B.A in English Language in 1993. He has since been teaching English in higher educational institutions and big and small companies. He is based in Saint Etienne in the East central part of France.
The following are some questions GIF asked Mr. Parry in our bid to know him better and learn from his rich experience.
GIF: We are happy to have this opportunity to know you better and it is our wish that your journey as an achiever will be an inspiration to many.
Mr. Parry: So many people have influenced my life. Starting with my parents, brothers and sister and friends without forgetting various teachers and the environment in which I grew up. I don’t think it’s a person who had the most powerful influence in my life. I would say it is the Bible, the Holy Scriptures which has had the deepest and most profound impact on my life.
GIF: Looking at your background- political science, auto-mechanic and now teaching …. What motivated you to choose your present career path?
Mr. Parry: I chose teaching as a profession because I was following in the footsteps of my elder brother, who used to teach chemistry at La Bone secondary school in Accra. I studied auto-mechanics as a hobby. As a child I always wanted to understand the functioning of an engine. So when I had the opportunity to study a vocational course I choose auto mechanics. This training has been a blessing for me. During a trip in Ghana to visit my parents in the Western region of Ghana, I took a Toyota bus from Kumasi to Asawinso in the western region. The bus broke down and I had to intervene and fix the car, so we were able to continue our journey to our destination. Sometimes I help family members, friends and acquaintances to make minor repairs on their cars. It has also helped me to improve my DIY skills.
GIF: What one word would you use to describe yourself?
Mr. Parry: It is a difficult question, since we have so many facets to our personality. If you insist I will use the adjective “spiritual”
GIF: What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are?
Mr. Parry: I have peace and tranquility, and I have been surprised by joy. In my youth I was impatient and wanted to change society with its injustices. Now, I have become calmer, examining situations, trying to understand and then reflecting on how to find the best solutions. I know that I am just dust and ashes, a speck floating in the vast universe, today I am here, tomorrow I am no more.
GIF: What is the most important character trait you think someone should possess? Why?
Mr. Parry: The most important character trait should be wisdom. What I mean is godly wisdom, if you prefer you should have a high spiritual quotient. It is higher than both intelligent and emotional quotients. This godly wisdom you will find it in the Bible. Wisdom will help you to take the right decisions. Paraphrasing Derek Kidner, wisdom can help you to handle everyday things in conformity with their nature, that is how they were divinely made and ordered.
GIF: Have you had any personal challenges in life that you would like to share? What are they and what motivated you to carry on despite them?
Mr. Parry: I have had repeated attacks from evil forces. Evil is everywhere, and each centimeter of this world is contested by the forces of good and evil. The devil came only to steal, kill and destroy. I was saved by the Almighty, God through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and his angels. There is a cosmic conflict between good and evil, light and darkness. Jesus came so that we may have life and have it in abundance. If you are lost, or you have an existential crisis, you could give your life to Jesus and you will find salvation for your soul.
GIF: What message would you like to transmit to fellow Ghanaians in France?
Mr. Parry: First and foremost, my fellow Ghanaians should learn and be proficient in the French language. This will help them to function effectively and efficiently in the French society and become integrated in the society. There are cognitive benefits of being bilingual and may also help them to improve their English skills. They should also remember that Ghana is surrounded by Francophone countries, and one day they may need the French language to help them build bridges with the surrounding countries.
Both theists and atheists Ghanaians living in France should seek the peace and prosperity of the country. Pray to the LORD for the leadership and citizens of this country, because if the society prospers, you and your descendants will also prosper. This is what the prophet Jeremiah told the Jews, who were deported to Babylon. Do not go about as talebearer among your people. – Leviticus 19:16
GIF: Thank you so much for giving us your time.
Mr. Parry: It’s a great pleasure for me some of my personal experience with your readers.
GIF: What message would you like to transmit to the up and coming generation?
Mr. Parry: Parents should play a very active role in the education of their children. Early quality education has long term benefits. They should motivate and encourage and provide stimulating and favourable environment for their young to thrive and succeed academically. If possible, nudge them towards the STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in order to improve their chances of getting a better job in the future.
Prospects for future jobs are not bright, given the rapid technological change: artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and the internet of things. The coming generation must work very hard, persevere in whatever their hands find to do. It’s grit and strength of character which will help to get a place under the sun.