I'm feeling a little sentimental this morning, as I think about my dad (as I often do), so I decided to share some of my thoughts with you all.
How lucky was I to have had an early role model and mentor like this amazing man. An immigrant from Romania to Canada as a child, he learned about accepting responsibility and helping to support his family at an early age.
With only a Grade 4 formal education, he became a lifelong learner, a veracious reader of all things that fascinated him, and allowed his native intelligence to guide his curiosity. He had an endless thirst for knowing how the world works and how he could best contribute to making it better, especially for his loved ones.
Lucky for me, when I came along, it was love at first sight for us! Although he worked tirelessly in his growing new business during my early years, which meant he was gone before I awoke, and came home after I was asleep, the weekends were ours! We were both early risers, which my mother and brother were not. My very fondest early memories were of coming downstairs in the early weekend morning hours, and there he was -- sitting in his favourite chair, reading with intense absorption.
I'd crawl onto his lap, and after a lovely snuggle, I'd ask, "What are you reading about, Daddy?" He'd share with me all the fascinating things that were happening in the world, and what he wanted to know more about. And so my great curiosity about new ideas and learning from motivating information started at a very early age.
Soon after, one of my all-time favorite activities would begin -- a Sunday morning ritual with us.
We lived in Montreal, Quebec -- home of Mount Royal, a large mountain -- at least to my young eyes, that was located right in the middle of the city. My Dad and I would drive to the big parking area at the base of the mountain, and begin our two-hour trek, hand in hand -- to the top!
You can imagine the fascinating talks we had, noticing all the amazing things about nature, animals, and many other wonders around us. I felt lucky, at this early age, to be a part of this world full of unlimited possibilities.
When we finally reached the mountain top, my very favorite treat awaited -- the large ice cream shop, with its tempting, yummy wide array of ice cream flavours!
My Dad would smile as I selected my Favorite Flavour of the Day -- a HUGE (it appeared to me) scoop of the wondrous stuff, in a crispy cone, and took my first slurp! I'd declare, "Daddy, it's SOOOO good!" He told me many times later on, how delighted he always was at my pleasure.
After walking around the lovely lake, talking to the ducks in the pond, and slurping my special treat, I'd finally get to the last lick, and sigh my last "Yum!" My Dad would say with a grin.... "Evie, would you like another one?" Can you imagine how difficult it was for me to reply -- "Oh Daddy, I can't! I'm way too full!" He, of course, knew that. Perhaps it was his way of showing his "sky's the limit" love for me.
And I wonder why to this day, ice cream is still one of my favorite indulgences!
Then we'd make our way back down the mountain, so happy to have these moments to share together, knowing we'd be back again next Sunday!
The closeness we created in those early days was rekindled so many times over the years. I knew I could always count on my Dad to help me think things through, consider all the angles of a challenge and yet retain my strong inner gut instincts.
What a lucky little girl was I! If only every child could start life with a positive, motivating force like my Dad -- always reinforcing the belief that I could do anything that I really set my mind to. An example: when he'd ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, he added "You know Evie, you could be the Prime Minister of Canada one day if you want to!" He never thought of me in the traditional female careers most parents suggested in those days. The sky was always the limit!
He'd also add... "One day you'll help a lot of people. And you'll write books!"
When I Rewired (Remember that concept?), I did write a book called, "Thrive Alive" -- filled with the many leadership ideas I'd been using throughout my long career helping people to become their very best selves, great team leaders, and successful business owners. In it, my dedication to My Dad, My Hero got much positive feedback. People said they wished they could have met and known him. I wish that too.
While discussing this blog with my other hero, (my wonderful husband), he suggested I share his observations to me over our years together. Example: "If I'd had a caring mentor like your Dad as a child, my entire life would have been different -- far more fulfilling and successful." His busy, distracted parents never seemed interested in taking the time to really listen to him, about things he thought were important. What a lesson to all of us, whether those most important to us are our children, our grandchildren, our nieces, nephews or any young people we've come to love and wish the best for.
Especially in those beginning years....
What a young child is "fed" about themselves and their capabilities at an early age creates an inner confidence to be able to conquer and reach for our most important goals throughout our lives. The reverse is also true -- being constantly ignored, put down or called out for failure to "get it right" has an lifelong negative effect on our willingness to take risks and seriously hampers our ability to perform at peak effectiveness.
If we all reconsider the impact we're having on the young people who are most important to us, we can become the most positively profound influence in the life of a fledgling leader who will remember our "impact" for the rest of their life! I know I do -- every day. Once again, thank you Dad, from the bottom of my heart!
Or as my best friend says....
"Go climb a mountain, and give a kid an ice cream cone!"
Have a wonderfully inspiring day!