Of These I am Proud

Columnist makes a point of making family members aware of his feelings for them

Often I’ve heard people lament the death of a family member, “I wish I’d told her how much I loved her.” Yes, too often we look upon our loved ones and reflect upon how much we admire them.  But—we hold back the praise, or we’re uncertain how to say the words.

I’m as reticent as the next person, always feeling good about members of my family but never expressing those feelings. I’m still sorry today—20 years after—that I had to do the eulogy for my son Devin to tell him how proud I was of him and his achievements at the age of 18.

So now I’m going to tell my remaining sons how proud I am of them and of what they are doing in this life.

My oldest son Brennan spent a long time coming to ground. He told his mother once that he would have many careers. In fact, he has had ten different occupations in his life so far. Throughout these, he has been quite successful, but he gets easily bored when he masters the job.  His tendency is to move on.

Throughout his various work situations, I’ve noted two things: he can sell anything to anyone, and he is really good with people. With these qualities it was right for him to want his own business, and so a couple of years ago he bought SoundWest Sales and Service—a tv and electronics store in Trail. Though it’s hard work making a business successful, he’s doing well.

And I’m proud to be the father of this businessman, my son.

My third son Avery has always been an outdoors person. Initially, when he graduated he took College courses and worked at odd jobs, but in the summers, he laboured at brushcutting and tree planting. These are not easy jobs, but because he is tough and rugged, he handled the tasks readily.

Then he decided he needed to be further up the line, so he trained to be a forest fire-fighter. Boot camp for this training is quite rigorous and he came through with flying colours. He spent a couple of summers throughout the province putting out fires before he moved on to dealing with fire centres for the Ministry of Forests.

He has always had this ability to understand people and how to carry out tasks efficiently. So it was not surprising when he became the supervisor for the fire centres in this corner of the world. When you see the planes loaded with water and retardant flying out from Castlegar, Revelstoke, Cranbrook, or Penticton to put out a forest fire, you can be sure my son has been directing the activity.

And I am proud to be the father of this manager, my son.

My fourth son Riston took the university-studies route to success. Upon graduation from SFU with a history degree, he surprised his mother by moving to South Korea where he obtained an English teaching position.  He spent four-and-a-half-years there. In the process, he learned the Korean language, both in the culture and at university.

Then he came back to Canada and took the West Kootenay Teacher training program through UBC. Though he began as a teacher-on-call in the local school district, his sensitivity to young people and their needs was quickly noted. Now he is teaching full-time at Stanley Humphries Secondary.

And I am proud to be the father of this teacher, my son.

We never know what will become of our children as they grow. We nurture them, we feed them our hopes, and then they fly. Along the way, we might have forgotten to tell them we love them. To my sons, I’m telling you now—I love you.