MEMORIES OF DAD
An article for the June 1993 Deep Cove CrierFatherís Day each June is a time when most of us look back on those special memories of times with our Dads. I will always remember sitting in my Dadís swivel chair at his office, and getting to play with all of his electronic gadgets. From Grade 3 to Grade 10, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be an electrical engineer, just like my Dad. I admired him very much, as he worked hard and climbed the corporate ladder. My Dad would often take me to his workshop downstairs. As I helped him cut 2-by-4ís, he would talk to me, just as if I were an adult, about all the projects he was working on around the world. Every time he went around the world to exotic places like the Philippines or the Mideast, he would bring back coins and stamps for my growing collections. I always loved going to the Vancouver Airport and waiting for my Dad to arrive. It felt good to have Dad back home. I remember sitting eagerly in the living room as Dad would open his suitcase and hand out special presents from far-away lands. But even more than the presents, I loved to hear stories about these strange new worlds that my father had visited.
Never Give Up...
My Dad was not much for talking about his feelings, but he loved to share his enthusiasm for getting jobs done. I learnt from my Dad the value of keeping my promises, and not starting something unless I was going to finish it. I will always remember the time that my Dad agreed to be an umpire for my Little League game. The score was 20 to 2, and the losing team was so angry at my father the umpire that they started booing him! But despite the opposition, my father stuck to his guns and completed the task he started. By both his actions and his words, my Dad taught the value of persistence and self-initiative.
Fork in the Road
To prepare for becoming an electrical engineer, I took many high school courses in electricity and electronics. I will always remember making an electronic mosquito repellent that my Dad helped me fit into a little soap dish. It emitted a high pitched sound that supposedly drove away all the blood-thirsty mosquitoes. I remember the fun I had trying to explain to my friends at school how a plastic soap box could drive away bugs. After taking several courses in electricity and electronics however, I started to wonder whether I was heading down the wrong path. I wasnít detail-oriented like my Dad, and I was beginning to get much more interested in people dynamics than microprocessors. I felt guilty and confused about this, as I had been totally convinced that Iíd end up like my Dad. After a painful time of soul-searching, I (the potential engineer) became a social worker, and my younger sister (the budding artist) became a scientist. I feel grateful in looking back that my father gave us the space to make our own decisions without judging us. In contrast, I remember my grandfatherís disappointment when I entered social work. He wanted me to be a dentist or a banker!
In contrast to my mother, my father had not been raised with a strong religious upbringing. My Dad would just as soon golf on Sundays as go to church. As a teenager, I unconsciously imitated my father, and began to ski and golf religiously on Sundays. God totally faded from my life, and I virtually stopped all praying. I never really rejected God or church. I just forgot that they existed. Church in my mind was just for mothers and children. You can imagine my surprise when out of the blue, my 48 year-old father decided to be confirmed by the Anglican bishop. At that time in my 17 year-old life, my heroes were Led Zeppelin and Ralph Nader. So I was totally amazed when I saw my engineer father stand up in a flock of eleven and twelve year olds at St. Francis-in-the-Woods, West Vancouver, and profess the Christian faith. Within two months, I had a powerful spiritual experience that totally transformed my life. In looking back, I can see that my fatherís bold stand for Christ in being confirmed unlocked the key to my spirituality. Thank you, Dad, for opening an amazing door to the rest of my life. My prayer is that all Dads reading this article may learn how to unlock the spiritual doors in the lives of their children.
The Reverend Ed Hird
Rector, St. Simonís Anglican Church, North Vancouver
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