This time of year can be very difficult when you have lost a loved one. Recently, my father passed away. Going into the holiday season I am choosing to look at the gifts he gave me. It is my sincere desire to pass these gifts on to our children as well.
My father was a very kind hearted, caring and funny man. As we were preparing to lay him to rest, I had the opportunity to reflect on all the “gifts” I received from him.
1. “Do Your Best”
In school, I struggled academically at times. My dad would ask “did you do your best?”. If I answered “yes” or if he saw me try hard he would focus on that.
I was never ashamed to bring home my report card. He would praise me for my hard work, effort and honesty. The fact I got a 52 was an amazing accomplishment for me in grade 10 English. My friends may or may not have used erasable ink to change the marks on their report cards. They would hand me the pen and I would decline. I knew that my dad would be proud!
I did my best. He did not compare me to anyone else. He knew what was an accomplishment for me and he praised me for that.
2. “No matter what”
Ever since I was a little girl, my dad would let me know that no matter what was going on he would be there for me. I knew that no matter what was going on in my life my dad would be there to listen or cheer me up.
Mistakes were made. I had some hard times but my dad’s love was always there. He received a number of calls early in the morning or late at night.
I certainly hope our little man feels that I will be there for him no matter what!!
3. Serve others
Our dad taught us the importance of serving others when we were very young. He taught us by leading a life where he served others.
My dad was a military veteran that proudly served his country for 28 years. When he was not working you would often find him volunteering in the community somewhere or helping out a friend or family member.
A good example of my dad helping others was when he climbed a ladder to help with building a roof on my cousin’s house. He did not leave the ladder but he did what he could from there. What some people did not know was that my father was deeply afraid of heights but he climbed that ladder and helped out where he could. Another example is when my dad chased a recruit into the ocean to prevent him from hurting himself even though my dad was afraid of the water.
During the visitation at the funeral home, many people shared stories of the things my dad did to help others. My dad loved to serve others and has taught all of his children the importance of helping others and doing onto to others what you would like done onto you.
4. “Make the best of it”
There are times when it can be really hard to find the positives in some situations but this is one of the best gifts my dad taught me and my siblings. No matter how crappy things got my dad would find the positive in that situation.
My brother summed this point up well when he wrote the following about a lesson our dad taught him..
“..there will always be times of stress and frustration but you must always keep a positive attitude, a good sense of humour and everything else will take care of itself”
I have many memories of my dad talking me through the tough times. He would say “keep your chin up”! No matter what happened I knew that I would be able to persevere through it as I kept my chin up and powered through it.
So as we approach this holiday season please take the time to reflect on the gifts you have already received and the gifts you would like to pass on to your child(ren). Yes I have every reason to be sad and upset; however, I am choosing to reflect on the gifts I have received!
Take care and as always, Be the Parent you want to be!!