Skip to main content

Tales of a Good Man

"Sometime in the midst of all this, we became friends.
And his story, and all its vast world passed into mine."  
--From the Introduction of Blood & Oil by Roxane Farmanfarmaian.


"Stories are so important; they become traditions that tell about the good that often comes out of bad experiences..." So began Roxane Farmanfarmaian's fascinating talk Monday night at Saint David's Seventh Grade Father-Son Dinner.

Dr. Farmanfarmaian, Affiliated Lecturer of Modern Middle East Studies at the Political and International Studies Department at Cambridge University, was introduced by her nephew, Saint David's seventh grader Cyrus '17. She spoke to the seventh grade boys and their fathers about what makes a "Good Man" through the prism of her book Blood & Oil: A Prince's Memoir of Iran from the Shah to the Ayatollah (Random House 2005), which she co-authored with her late father, Prince Manucher Farmanfarmaian.

The memoir is a collection of tales told by her father about his and his father's trials, tribulations, and triumph as they lived through turbulent times in Iran, including periods of exile and return to their native country.

Prince Manucher Farmanfarmaian was director of an Iranian oil company and one of the founders of OPEC, and served as the Shah's oil adviser. When the Revolution of 1979 hit, he had to leave everything behind--his home, all of his possessions. Despite this adversity, Dr. Farmanfarmaian observed that her father remained always "the perennial optimist."

"My father had learned grit, imagination and, most critically, faith in humanity" which, she said, led him to be a good man.



"He stuck with his principles and core values, beliefs." So that when he returned home and began a potato chip factory, "He was very happy; he lived simply, stayed optimistic."

In reflecting upon the evening's theme of A Good Man, Dr. Farmanfarmaian noted, "My father's optimism, his belief in humanity, and ability to face adversity with grace and deliberate moral introspection, are what I would say made him a good man."

Following her talk, Dr. Farmanfarmaian took questions from the boys and fathers in attendance. The queries were thoughtful and related to the current situation in the Middle East. Dr. Farmanfarmaian's responses were thought provoking and reflective of the complex social-politcal-economic forces at play; and a call for deliberate moral introspection.

It was a wonderful talk and dinner. Boys and their dads left the event with a copy of Blood & Oil signed by the author, and much to discuss on the way home.

Our deep appreciation to Dr. Farmanfarmaian and the Farman-Farmaian family at Saint David's for enabling us to experience such a special evening that celebrates the bond between father and son.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

An Evening With Lidia Bastianich

On Tuesday evening, Lidia Bastianich, award-winning chef, restaurateur, television host and author, visited Saint David's to speak to the Saint David's Alumni Parent community and current Eighth Grade.



Interviewed by Alumni Parent Dr. Joseph Haddad for our Alumni Parent Council Lecture, Lidia recounted her youth in Istria when the once Italian peninsula shifted to communist reign after World War II, her two years spent as a refugee in Trieste, and her experiences after her family immigrated to America when she was eleven years old.


The boys were fascinated with her discussion about her family's escape from Istria and her life as a refugee and immigrant. She expressed her everlasting gratitude to the people who provided assistance to her family in Trieste and when they first arrived in New York. "I can't talk enough about the goodness of the people who helped us," she said. "I am where I am because of them."

As a highly successful person with…

Navy SEAL Bill Berrien '82 Gives Chapel on Service to Saint David's Boys

Former Navy SEAL and Saint David's Alumnus Bill Berrien '82 fascinated all during his Chapel Talk Tuesday morning to our seventh and eighth graders.

A SEAL for nine years, Bill was a member of two platoons in South America as well as part of a Joint Special Operations unit. He shared his SEAL Trident with the boys, talked about the intensity of training, and noted he remains close to many with whom he served.


Connecting his service to the values that Saint David's espouses, he encouraged the boys to always be students--curious throughout their lives, to find the best in everyone, appreciate setbacks, and to learn from failures. In the video above, he addresses the first.

He closed by planting these "seeds" for our boys to consider: that life is a journey to be embraced broadly with openness to a variety of opportunities; being a service leader is of utmost importance; the unknown should be embraced; and, finally, that the boys be their own best friend, compassi…

Sono arrivati in Italia!

Eighth graders and their teachers have arrived in Rome and are enjoying the first day of the 10-day Italian Study Tour.


Their first stop was St. Paul's Outside the Walls, where Cardinal Harvey, Archpriest of the papal basilica, provided a tour. Later, the boys visited the Spanish Steps, and toured the Pantheon.




Over the next two weeks the boys will visit sites in Rome, Assisi, and Florence. They will see in person the paintings, sculpture, and architecture that they have studied in the interdisciplinary humanities class. Each day their understanding will be deepened as they write about the experience and sketch the various works in their journals.


This trip is an exceptional opportunity for our boys to augment their in-class learning, build experience as citizens of the world beyond New York City, and strengthen their bonds as a graduating class.

I can't wait to join the boys and their teachers later in the week!