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28.06.2022 - For fans

My father Mirko Pogačar’s record of his upbringing

We had great, unforgettable, and playful memories

My family is my treasure. Without them, I would not be who I am. I will be grateful to them for the rest of my life. They are with me everywhere, even when they are not physically there. There is nothing better than seeing them on the side of the road at the races, encouraging me. I consider myself a family man, even if I left home at the age of 19. Below is my father’s record on what it was like to be brought up in our home. Let me just tell you that it was not always all hard work, we also had many beautiful, memorable, and playful experiences.

I live in the country. I always have lived and I am not ashamed. We have a garden where we grow quite a few vegetables for our own needs, organically of course, without sprays and chemicals, just sun, water, and homemade compost.

I don’t like concrete, tall skyscrapers, cobbled boulevards, shiny facades, rush hour traffic, the smell of exhaust fumes, crowds, expensive buffets, and restaurants… I love the green, the sound of the stream next to the house, the nearby forest, the distant mountains, the rocks, the sky, the stars…

You have to love someone, even if it is grass, a river, a tree or a stone… So wrote the Slovenian poet Ivan Minatti, one of the finest Slovenian lyricists, a poet of the feelings of the heart and silence.

To love the small things around us, who are privileged to live in the country, even though, before the elections, I heard a bourgeois lady say to the cameras that people from the countryside vote for certain parties because they are less sophisticated.

Her statement more often than not confirmed her lack of knowledge. People are different, good and bad, clever and stupid, educated and uneducated… in the countryside as well as in the city. Being open-minded is not about being modern and supporting everything different, new, or sometimes even perverse.

We are what we do again and again

I grew up on a farm where there was always plenty to do. I never had the chance to go for a coffee with friends during the day or just wander around the shopping centres. It was only in the evening when everything was done in the fields and the barn, that I had the chance to read, study, listen to music or hang out. If there was no school, and later no job, it was working on the farm. Again and again. We had responsibility and that made us stronger, even though it was often difficult. And most importantly: we developed work habits.

We had our little pleasures despite our work: reading or even writing something in the evening, talking about music with our friends at school, meeting Dylan, Doors, B. B. Later, in high school, punk was the most suitable for us, as it helped us to relax and calm our rebellious souls.

I have enjoyed reading the world’s classics, as well as the lesser-known ones. I loved Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck, Kafka, Bulgakov… I enjoyed the films of Sergio Leone, Luis Buñuel, Pedro Almodóvar, Federico Fellini… and the music of great film composers such as Ennio Morricone, Alberto Iglesias Fernández-Berridi, Ry Cooder. In this way, we expanded our horizons and our spirit.

I have a wife to whom I have pledged my loyalty to the grave, and I still love her. My life path may be old-fashioned for many, but I still enjoy spending my days with my wife, talking, rejoicing, grieving, playing, encouraging, appreciating, feeling, respecting, cherishing, and cuddling together. Together we have four wonderful children, although time has not always been kind to raising a family. I cannot imagine any of them not being here today. We are a family in the true sense of the word.

Time may not be kind to families today, but children change our lives and give them new meaning. The coming ecological catastrophe, the cost of poverty, and wars are convenient excuses for many couples not to have children. They do not even know what they are missing. A Chihuahua or any other four-legged animal cannot replace a child.

We brought them up a little more ‘the old-fashioned’ way, because we did not acquire the knowledge of permissive parenting, or did not want to. The children still greet passers-by on the street, they respect and help the elderly. We still give them various chores to do, like taking out the garbage, washing and putting away the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, mowing the grass around the house… Sometimes I even regretted that we didn’t have a farm where there was more work to do. It’s a bit rude.

We taught them to listen to the elderly, not to interfere in their conversations and interrupt them. They should follow the lessons and realise that teachers are also just people with their everyday problems. They should not send parents to school because they do not like something in the education system, but take responsibility for their actions.

We taught them to be kind, happy, smiley, to protect nature, to pick up litter after themselves (and others), and to finish things if they have already started them. They should love each other, they should not give up, because no soup is eaten as hot as it is cooked. And not to mock other people, because we are all very different.

They spent a lot of time outside, in the garden and the woods, in the sun, the wind, or the rain, playing with their peers, and returning home sweaty, soaked, muddy, hot, and happy. That’s how they slowly started to learn about the sport. Often, for lack of funds, we would go to the mountains or to small hills, which got on their nerves: “Oh, it’s the hills again!” Whenever we went, we reached our destination. And it was always beautiful.

Being positive, patient, and persistent as a wish come true

During primary school, they were enrolled in various clubs of their choice, but sometimes they would change after just a few weeks. We were both opposed to it. “Take it until the end of the school year, then you can change.”

And they did. They played football, basketball, orienteering, scouting, cycling, ballet, music … you name it. They stayed in some activities for one season, in others for several, and one of them is still cycling today.

They got smartphones late because we think they do more harm than good for a child growing up. For many, such thinking is outdated, from the Middle Ages, or at least from the era of Dekle Ančke written by Finžgar, Grivarjevi otroci by Bevko, or Samorastniki by Prežihov Voranc. The computer is now a necessity for the school system, but its use must be limited.

Sometimes it is very difficult for parents to stick to their principles, but if we help children with the smallest obstacles from the start, how will they be able to overcome the harder and bigger ones when we are not there? In life, we have to fight again and again, and sport certainly helps us to do that. The motto that Tadej has taken as his own: “Never give up and never give in!” says a lot about education too.”

Signature of Tadej Pogačar

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