FATHER | What I’ve Learned: Forest Whitaker

August 22, 2013

Spotted this on the For Fathers Blog, such a sweet interview.

By Mike Sager,

My eye? It’s a genetic thing. My dad had it and now I have it. You know, I just found out that it may be correctable a little bit, because it does impair my vision. When I look up, I lose sight in this eye. I think maybe for other people, it informs the way they see me. But I don’t really think about this eye, other than the times people talk about it, or when people take photographs of me sometimes they might say stuff about it. I don’t think it makes me look bad or anything. It just is.

My work is just another expression of my growth as a person.

Change causes change.

The other night, I was walking down the stairs behind one of my daughters — I have three, and one son, ages eight to sixteen. I was tired, and she was goofing around, you know, like kids do, doing all this stupid stuff on the stairs. And I was thinking, Please just go down the stairs and let’s get you to bed. It’s after your bedtime. I’ve had enough for one day. And then I sort of caught myself. I snapped out of it. I was like, Dude, you should be dancing down the stairs behind her!

Ultimately, all human beings fulfill their patterns. We’re set in a certain archetype and we fulfill that destiny. Say I was supposed to be a king. Maybe I would be a king with a gun in a neighborhood selling drugs. Or I would be the king of the liquor store I owned. Or I would be the president of a company or even a nation. It’s all about destiny. That’s why people look at the zodiac or the I Ching — because there’s a certain order to life, and that order has been lived since the beginning of time. No matter what you do, you’re going to live inside of it.

My senior year, I was getting flown all over to colleges and being recruited for football. When they fiew me to West Point, at first I was really impressed. My parents really wanted me to go there. I remember the buildings were really big. Gothic. Mythic. And the guys were running in the cold, and their breath was coming out of them like horses. It all seemed so great, you know? Really momentous. But later, when it came to the day of the signing, I told the recruiter I wasn’t so sure because everyone there was the same. He said, “Yes, 95 percent of them are the same, but I believe that you’re that special 5 percent.” And I said, “I’m not the 5 percent. I’m a person who excels in my environment. I’m a person who seizes what I’m offered and really tries to mold it into something. I will be a great cadet. I will end up being one of the main cadets. But I will lose myself.” If I had chosen West Point, then that would have become my identity. I wouldn’t have had the strength to fight against it. That would have become me.

If I go to a reunion in east Texas, my mother’s side or my father’s, one out of ten is a preacher or a teacher. That’s just the way it is in my family.

One of my greatest lessons in life came from my mom. When I told her I didn’t want to go to church, she said, “You don’t have to go to church, but you have to go somewhere. You have to believe in something.”

The temple of the cinema is about people coming together and sharing one another’s experiences. One person laughs at something that you didn’t get; one person cries at something that you didn’t see. Or maybe all one thousand people in there feel the same thing at the same time. Everything grows exponentially.

Playing Idi Amin shifted something inside of me a little bit. It was something I’d been working on for a long time — trying to understand my heritage. I’d been going back through my family tree as far as I could go — five generations on each side. Before that, I had to cross over the water to Africa. I even had my DNA tested, because I think it’s important to have a sense of your source, a sense of where you come from.

And then I get this role and I end up in East Africa. I go out to the forest in Uganda. There’s this woman. She brings me deep into the forest, to this cave made from the roots of a tree — the entrance is made from the roots of a tree. You go inside and there’s a well in the ground, a little well. This is where they say the first man lived. And I’m sitting there. I’ve got my shoes off and I’m thinking to myself, Touch the ground, man. Touch the wall, feel your feet, smell it, don’t forget it. Let it be inside of you.

[SOURCE: ESQUIRE] via For Fathers Blog

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