Monday, 10 April 2017

Doing One's Best

My father passed away on March 31st.

One of my happiest childhood memories of him is bacon and eggs.  On Sunday mornings he was frequently the first out of bed and he would make bacon and fried eggs for the family. (One of the few meals he could cook well.)

A favourite TV character said that we might think we're the heroes in our own story but the reality is that there are no heroes or villains, just people doing the best they can.  Dad did the best he could with what he had.  He overcame a difficult childhood and applied himself to every decision and career move that he made.

He worked on the Saint Lawrence River Seaway, something he was always proud of despite the menial job that he occupied: cutting and threading steel rods for construction.  He joined the Air Force, but after three years he recognized his limitations and chose to become a teacher instead; a career at which he excelled.

Despite his success he never forgot the people around him.  Family and friends were important.  He went above and beyond for his students, many of whom would in later years describe him as their favourite teacher.

And he would push me to do my best as well.  When I was eleven years old he took me out to the back yard one day and "introduced" me to the lawnmower, giving me precise instructions on how to operate it and how I should care for the yard.  I took that to heart: I mowed the grass regularly right up until the day before I was married.

People who have the ability to bring out the best in others are rare.  My father was one such.  He will be missed dearly.