The first people that will have the most influence over your lives are your parents or guardians that raised you. They shape our lives, each person that they mold comes out different because each person has their perspective on the guidance they were given. Despite what type of person our parents were, a child can choose what they were influenced by the good, the bad, perhaps learning from both traits? The best case scenario is turning out well because we were influenced by a good role model rather than deciding to be the opposite of a cautionary tale.

Both of my parents have a strong influence over my life; although my dad passed away in 2005, he continues to make a big impact because of the huge impact he had in life. As an influential man of color and a Christian elder, Andrew Geyer was quick to be of service to others. Throughout my life, people that were friends with my father always had nothing but good things to say about him, how he helped them in some way. Even someone I worked with who I didn’t know knew my father personally, had glowing words about the man she knew him to be.

On a secular level, my father was a park caretaker his main responsibility was the oversight of Seaside Park; he had to make sure other parks such as Washington, Ninety Acres Park, etc. were tended to as well in Bridgeport, CT. Whatever he did he always went far beyond what was expected. Although his job capacity did not require it, he started a youth program that got young men and women involved in their local parks. His local impact gained attention in the highest office of this nation, which earned him a commendation from the commander in chief of that time, President Nixon. He also influenced his nephew to move, work for Disney and eventually become a top animator.

Because of his job, my dad was allowed to live in the only park with a zoo in Connecticut; he grabbed at the chance which resulted in surrounding his family in beauty, in a house overlooking a human-made pond that would light up spectacularly, reflecting lightning during a midnight storm. He shared this privilege resulting in many park events with our friends and family.

Many may not get to know how their role model views them, but in one of the last conversations I had with my dad (the year he died), he told me. He said that my eldest brother Stephen and I were two of the best people he knew. I was taken aback, being that he kept up his poker-face, so to speak, unwaveringly remaining in that role of parental authority. So, that has given me a lot to live up to, I’m not perfect, but if I wielded any influence, I would like it to be along with the caliber of my dad and be a good influence.


Sharon J Geyer is an artist residing in San Diego, originally from Connecticut. She is a caregiver for her mother yet finds time to write tactilely and for the screen.