Fathers/ Fathering: Superheroes do not have to defy gravity and wear a cape…

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     Amongst 18 siblings, Dr. Christophe Boxe’s father, Keith Boxe, was raised on a farm in Stony Hill, St. Andrews, Jamaica. To help with the family finances, he dropped out of high school and earned a trade as graphics and print designer in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Boxe’s first memories were of his father’s boundless energy and remnants of him being a short sleeper. Keith Boxe is among the Sleepless Elite – the 1% to 3% of the population that function efficiently on a few hours of sleep per night. Keith’s superhero powers spearheaded his family toward attaining the “American Dream.”

     Achieving this undoubtedly came with sacrifices. Keith was the first to migrate to America, followed by Dr. Boxe’s mom and brother several years later. He worked 2 to 3 jobs at design and printing factories during the week. Dr. Boxe vividly recalls his father coming home at 1 to 2 am in the morning and leaving the apartment at 5 to 5:30 am. On the weekends, Dr. Boxe’s father was fully and always engaged with the family dynamics – getting Dr. Boxe involved in baseball, basketball, football, gymnastics and afterschool activities, and incessantly emphasized always maintaining the highest standard toward one’s educational engagement.

     Keith Boxe’s hard work, perseverance, high intellect, and excellent mentorship enabled Dr. Boxe to attain an invaluable education at Morehouse College and California Institute of Technology. Dr. Boxe’s father taught him the true meaning of education as expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals… We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education… If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, “brethren!” Be careful, teachers!” Dr. Boxe’s father never defied any laws of physics and never wore a cape, as exemplified by fictional superheroes, but he’s been Dr. Boxe’s best mentor and friend.

Further reflection from Dr. Boxe on his father:

     I worked with my father and his father on their farm. They taught me how to grow fruits and vegetables and sustain a select crop size per growth and harvest season. I also helped them feed and maintain cows, chickens, rabbits, goats, and pigs as well. This allowed me to experience nature to the fullest, where I attained a deep connection to Earth’s and our Solar system’s ecosystem,(through star-gazing at Earth’s constellations and planets, such Mars and Jupiter, which you could always see in the clear night skies of Above Rocks, St. Catherine, Jamaica).These experiences made me gravitate greatly toward STEM. I had bimodal passion for veterinary medicine and space science, where space science inevitably won, as I could/can engage the world more broadly through it — thus having a greater impact in STEM). 

     My father’s father taught me about farming to a great degree, but more importantly taught me how to respect Earth’s ecosystem and thus each other. My grandfather always relayed to me how he learned from past mistakes which involved his own self-centered actions and disregard for mutual understanding within Earth’s ecosystem (and how that marginalized his impact and relationship within his immediate family. After rectifying such behavior, he was able to see the detrimental impact of his past ways, but even more, [to see] that humans can always do better if they choose to do so. 

     My father was/is definitely an artist (with inherent mathematical proficiency in geometry, architecture, and design/graphics). He lives in the United States and Jamaica. 

     Apart from being my best mentor, my father’s grace is the best thing he gave to me. It enabled me to attain a priceless education at Morehouse College (they paid out of pocket), which allotted me the opportunity to attend Caltech for graduate school. The gift of education from my father was a Blessing.