Editorials by Robert Kirwan

I Have Held Many Positions In My Life, But None More Important Than…
   Sunday, June 18 is Fathers’ Day.
   This has always been a special day of reflection for me, and often it has been a day when I wish I could have turned back the clock and taken more time to appreciate all that is good about being a father. To illustrate this point, I would like to share a little story that has always been one of my favourites.
   Two little boys were dressed and ready to go. In fact, they had been ready now for more than an hour. Excitement flooded their faces and all their talk was about only one thing: their father had promised to take them to the circus that afternoon and they were only minutes away from leaving.
   As planned, Dad came home from work early that day, right after lunch and quickly changed into casual clothing. Then, just as the three of them were about to leave the house, the phone rang.
   The boys listened intently as their father talked with the person at the other end of the line. Bit by bit, their faces began to fall. This was obviously a business call, and some urgent matter was requiring their father’s attention back at work.
   Disappointment rolled into the room like a dark cloud. Their mother also overheard what she thought was the inevitable change of plans, and looked consolingly at her sons. She went over and stroked their hair, hugging them closely to her sides. She knew how terribly disappointed they would be when her husband got off the phone.
   And then, to the surprise of everyone, they heard Dad say, “No, I won’t be coming back in today. It will just have to wait until the morning.” Hanging up the phone he called for the boys to meet him at the car as he turned to kiss his wife good-bye. She smiled and with a twinge of fear that he may have made the wrong decision, she said, “The circus keeps coming back, you know.”
   The father replied, “Yes, I know. But childhood doesn’t.”
   Sometimes it takes a long time for a father to realize this. With young children around the house, there seems to be little time for the really important things to get done. There are always chores to do or things to repair. Work responsibilities often require overtime or a change of holidays.  

   Nevertheless, one must never forget to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Eyes that long for those precious few moments of time spent in play with their father. It doesn’t have to be much. The five minutes it takes to look at your child’s math test; waiting for your child to find his shoes so that he can come with you to the store to pick up some milk and bread; playing catch in the backyard for five minutes; crawling into the ‘cabin’ your child made behind the couch; sitting with your child at the hockey game instead of talking to the other fathers in the corner of the rink; taking twice as long to put out the garbage because you let your child help you carry it to the road.
   My own children are adults now, so I have gone through the ‘father routine’ for over 31 years. In fact, I have also been into the ‘grandfather routine’ for the past two years. For all my experience, I have two pieces of advice to give to young fathers. First, don’t ever feel that spending time with your children is less important than anything else you have to do in your life. Absolutely nothing is more important than spending time, even if it is just for a few moments with your children. Secondly, never pass up an opportunity to make your children realize that you are extremely proud to be their father.
   I have held many positions and accepted many responsibilities in my life, but my most important role, by far, is my role as a father. I know that this responsibility will continue for the rest of my life, and for that I am extremely grateful.
   Have a happy Fathers’ Day!

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