As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Tale of Two Fathers

For Mother's day, I did a tribute to all the strong women who have played a part in my children's lives. There have also been a myriad of incredible men who have played a significant role in their lives. There are the multitude of Uncles: Uncle David, Uncle Don, Uncle Stephen, Uncle John, Uncle Michael and Uncle Ricky. Each of these uncles have shown my children what a strong man looks like, how to treat others with respect, how to accept others unconditionally, how to be responsible, how to have fun, and most importantly, what it is like to be a Godly man. For that I will be eternally grateful.

There are two men however who have really impacted on my kid's lives, as well as my own, those being my husband Bruce and my own father. Today's blog is dedicated to them.

This is my guy Bruce. The night before we were to be married, I remember turning to Sharon, my Maid of Honour, and saying I really wasn't sure if I was ready to go through with getting married. It had nothing to do with being so young, it was my fear that Bruce would follow in his own father's footsteps. Sharon in her great wisdom was shocked and stated "are you nuts, he isn't anything like his father!" Of course, she was right.

Well, my 3 kids all say he is a great father, and I wholeheartedly agree. The last 28 years of his life has revolved around his children. They have always been his first priority and the loves of his life. I don't know if you've ever seen the Norman Rockwell picture of the new father who has dragged people down to the nursery window and is excitedly pointing at the baby, well that's Bruce.

Bruce always wanted to ensure he gave his children those things he did not have as a child. In doing so, he always ensured they had everything they needed. Through that however, he taught them the difference between a want and a true need, and taught them not just in words, but through his own actions, how important it is to work for those things we see as a personal want. Whenever the subject of school came up, it was never "if" they would go onto post secondary education, it was "when." Through his loving belief in them, they truly believed in themselves and each have gone on to be very successful in their post secondary education. He taught them the value of hard work, and of being responsible for yourself and for your actions. He was not afraid to go to them and apologize if he felt he was in the wrong. What a wonderful message to give your children, that you are not afraid to admit that you are falible.

One of the greatest things Bruce gave, and continues to give his children is his time. There were the many many winters of getting up before 5:00 AM to get to the early morning hockey practice and/or games. He never just dropped the boys off, he always stayed to watch and encourage. If he was working, if possible he would find a way to get off early or go in late so that he could be there for them. Then there was the many music lessons, practices, recitals, concerts, camps, etc, etc, etc. Again, he was there for everything he could be there for. He took great pride in every accomplishement and award. I think one of the greatest tributes any of our children made to him was when Jennifer was 12 and was Honour Student at Junior Music Camp. Someone who knew Bruce as a teenager said to her "this is amazing, considering who you father is." Jennifer, with a great deal of wisdom and maturity proudly and clearly stated "I became Honour Student BECAUSE of my father."

The wonderful thing to see now is how his relationship with his children has continued to develop as they have become adults. He truly enjoys his time with them, talking with them and the sharing of common interests. There have been the golf games, the fishing trips, the family trips to the cottage with their myriad of friends, the games of wizard and scrabble, the recent rafting trip. There's the sports events, and the phone discussions that start with "did you see the game." He eagerly awaits word from them every week as to how they are doing now that we live at such distances and soaks up every word they say. The kids and I all say

This is my father. One of my earliest memories with him is when I was 3 years old. My mom was pregant with my youngest sister Barbara. They had taken us camping for a few days. I remember going to the water pump with Dad to fill the water bucket. He had me hang on to the pump arm as he pumped. I laughed and laughed as my feet lifted off the ground over and over again. He was my daddy, and I was his little girl.

Over the years, my dad has taught me many valuable lessons, and many times he was unaware that he had. I have a saying that goes "Your actions speak so loud, I can't hear what you are saying." Dad's actions always spoke loud and clear, however he is such a man of integrity that his actions never contravened what he said. He told us that we should never gossip and spread rumours about others, and he lived that by example. He told us to accept others unconditionally, and he lived that by example. He told us to treat others with respect, yet to know when to speak up respectfully, and he lived that by example. I remember when I was in my mid teens, I was incenced when a man from our church (the father of a girl Barbara's age) started going after Barbara for something he stated she had done to his daughter (which she hadn't). I went to him, and began yelling at him. Dad came up and stated "Joanne, you do not treat your elders like that, you apologize." I didn't want to, but did. As I was walking away, Dad turned to the man and said "Now, we are going to get to the bottom of this....." and he proceeded to work through the initial issue. He taught me by example.

Dad told all of us to rely on God in the good times and in the bad, and he lives that by example. When I was in my late teens, I was in my "rebellious" years. I remember coming upstairs from my bedroom early one morning to see Dad kneeling at the couch with his bible open. This was not a new sight, as we all knew that this was a regular practice for Dad before he went to work. This morning in particular, I could tell he was crying a bit (another gift Dad gave us, it's OK for a man to cry). As I quietly went back to my room, I could hear him praying, for us, his children. Although I had more rebellious times to come, through it all I had the knowledge that I had a father, parents, that covered me in prayer, no matter what choices I made. Years later, I visited Mom & Dad in Florida. Early one morning, I heard them downstairs praying together, praying for each of their children.

As an adult, I now find that I rely on Dad to listen and for guidance when I need it. When I was called by DHQ to move from a job I was greatly enjoying at Hope Shelter to take over as Director of the Family Shelter, the first person I sought advice and guidance from was Dad. His support and encouragement played a key role in me moving forward. When dealing with challenges at work, I now find myself asking two questions before I respond: What would Jesus have me do?, then What would Dad do in a situation like this?...............Ah, I know, treat the person with respect while dealing with the issue, be professional and don't talk about it to others, and rely on God for my strength through it all!.........


  • At 8:37 AM, Blogger Evie Sears said…

    Nice tribute to two fabulous men. If more fathers were like Bruce and Dad, there would be fewer angry, confused children in the world.

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger Barbara said…

    I agree with Evie. The world could use a lot more Dads like Bruce and our Dad. It makes me sad to see so many children without a strong role model.


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