Sunday, March 20, 2011

Camels, Fish, Bad Hair Days and Dads

Grandpa and Ping

My father is an interesting person.  Over the 34 odd years of which he has been my father (which also happens to be the number of years I've been his son), he has accomplished many things.
  • He has immigrated from a warm European country to Northern Canada
  • He started life in Canada working as a mechanic
  • He wound up marring my mother 3 weeks (or something crazy like that) after they first met
  • He bought a grocery store
  • Sold the grocery store
  • Started an insurance agency
  • Got into real estate
  • Had 4 children
  • Started a computer store
  • Married 40(ish) years (to the same woman)
  • Went back to school and got a Masters in Theology
  • Served as a Chaplin in at a Prison in Winnipeg
  • And the list goes on...

You would *think* that with such a long list of accomplishments in his life, that he would have some treasured nuggets of wisdom to pass onto his children.  Especially when you consider the whole "Masters in Theology" thing.

Alas, growing up, I was left with such nuggets as :
  • Son, even a fish would stay out of trouble if only he kept his mouth shut.  or,
  • Son, trust in God, but tie up your camel.  or,
  • Son, normally honesty is the best policy.  But only a fool tells his wife when she gets a bad hair cut.

Now, I'm not saying ALL advice bestowed upon me was bad.  In fact, although lacking in the poetry of Plato, Aristotle, or even Douglas Hofstadter - the advice normally given was correct, and quite useful (had I followed it in my youth).

I should also add that over the years, his advice has gotten better... or maybe I've gotten better at listening to it.  But anyway...

Recently, something happened at work which was down right ugly and unpleasant.  After suffering though what was probably my worst week professionally, I gave my Dad a call.  It was so wonderful to hear his sympathetic voice on the end of the line and to be able to say "I understand.  It will be OK" took away so much of the anxiety and worry I was feeling.  It was so freeing to be able to say "Dad, this sucks" and have someone you love and trust be a soft landing place - without judgement or anything like that.

How often do I take that for granted?

See, my father has taken the last 34 odd years of my life building that trust and love.  And I'm sure at times it wasn't easy.

That is what we are doing now with our children.  Now.  Every day just building that trust and love.  Biological or adopted.  So that one day... my child can call me up and say "Dad, this sucks".  

When that day comes, I will know that I have done my job as a father well.


  1. You have described my Dad to a T. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Another brilliantly worded post Adrian.

    Praying for you to have your "best week professionally" to make up for the worst one.

  3. I'm sorry you had a crappy week at work, but happy that you have a supportive family to help you get through it.