I am Katrine and this is my hero

"It's a but ordinary story though," says Katrine. It is Saturday morning. She is still in her running outfit when she starts telling the story, full of love and respect.

I am 40 years old and my hero is my father.  The people here still know him: bald and bearded, Mr. Sabbe from the sewing shop. As a 10-year-old he was already on the train learning the trade of tailor. He worked his way up.  He worked abroad and became the director of a textile company.

I am the youngest of three, a little younger than the others.  So I remember he had time for me.  And during the vacations we drove together in the car to his work in the Netherlands.  Those were always long drives of up to two and a half hours, there and back. I sat on the back seat, but leaned forward between the two front seats. And we talked: he asked questions and he listened.  

This is what I learned from him: listening is important in a conversation. Asking questions, being curious about the other person and yes, not expressing your own opinion. The older I get, the more I appreciate this and try to apply it myself.

My father is now 83, still vital and as interested as ever. He doesn't talk much about himself. He comes second.  Sometimes we call him the "curious nose," but he's really interested in others. So he can never make a quick trip to the store either. He stays away for hours talking to everyone.  Even the grandchildren love to be with him.  They play games, solve a crossword, meanwhile he talks to them, to everyone on his level. Even my nieces, who are grown up by now, say, "When we visit him, we have to take time, because walking in and out, it's not possible. "     

The older I get, the more valuable I find this: really listening and really taking an interest. What do you really think and feel?  

Katrijn Sabbe from Langemark-Poelkapelle

Read all stories from the expo: https://www.langemark-poelkapelle.be/en/this-is-me-and-this-is-my-hero