Editorials by Robert Kirwan
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
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
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
Have a happy Fathers’