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A Fathers Influence: Lessons for Life

I grew up in the 70's, long before the advent of mobile phones, iPads, and computers even (!). Simplicity fuelled my fire.

When I was 4 my Dad realised his childhood dream and took possession of a 10 acre hobby farm; he had also started his own business and woke up at 4AM every day to juggle the demands of each venture, which he did for 46 years. So if anyone knows the meaning of hard work, it's my Dad.

I played outside on the farm that received the best of the four seasons Canada has on offer, My particular favorite has always been autumn. Rustling in the leaves was definitely one of my preferred past times, I can still remember their fragrance as their falling heralded the change of season. My sisters and I built forts, played in the dirt with the chickens and horses. The woods beside our house was a blank page for our fertile childhood imagination, and was the best place to hide, find treasures, chase squirrels & rabbits and wrangle snakes to keep as pets. Dad would be the first to join in the fun and fuel our childhood shenanigans. He is still doing it to this day, and his grandchildren are proving to be fertile ground for his escapades. If anyone knows the meaning of adventure and play, it's my Dad.

Running a farm is hard work, even a hobby farm with animals to feed, fences to paint, grass to cut. My Dad has always worked hard and with a glad heart. He also handed us responsibility for the chores far younger than conventional wisdom might dictate. Dad had us doing it all, the best of it being the ride-on lawn mower with him chasing me down the drive. If anyone knows the meaning of responsibility, it's my Dad.

I started going to work with Dad to 'help him' when I was 5. He'd let me sleep a little longer which meant we were playing catch-up all day, he didn't mind. His business was all about relationships, drive and grit and I learned a lot. It was physically demanding as well, that's definitely why he retains the youthful vigor of a 35 year old rather than a 74 year old. When his customers weren't happy about something he did, he'd stand his ground and always managed to turn things around. If anyone knows the meaning of strength and influence, it's my Dad.

If there's something my Dad enjoys doing, it's telling stories. It might be the first time he meets you, but rest assured you'll get to hear (amongst a host of other things) all about his his childhood independence, his wayward youth, his prairie escapades and his days as a ranch hand out west. His wit, humour and charm combine to make the stories all the more endearing. If anyone knows about story telling, it's my Dad.

I've learned a lot from Dad, as his first born I was destined to be his constant companion, his sidekick, the apple of his eye. When I was scared of the dark, he'd tuck me in and tell me not to worry about King Kong, he was 'tied up all the way down in Florida and wouldn't be in Canada any time soon'. When I've gone off the beaten path he's been there with a word of advice, when I was determined to travel abroad, he encouraged me. My Dad has always been there, an unwavering presence in my life even now, as far away as he is. My Dad....if anyone knows anything about being a Dad, it's him.

Happy Father's Day Dad & to all of the brilliant father's out there!

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