I share my father’s fascination with history. My father loves to read, research, and learn. ‘Like Father, like Son’ is true in so many unexpected ways. Like my father, I want to keep learning and growing until I leave this planet earth. I believe that we either grow or shrink. You can’t remain static.
Like my dad, I have become involved in the area of writing and journalism. My father was a writer and then the editor of the Telecom Advisor for over 15 years. From 1988 to 2018, I was privileged over the past 30 years to write over 360 articles for the Deep Cove Crier, and for ten years (2,000 to 2,010) co-ordinated the ‘Spiritually Speaking’ column for the North Shore News.
It is wonderful to have a father who has modelled helpful skills. Whether it was helping my father to cut wood with his skillsaw or to cut the grass, my dad has always been a coach, a mentor, and an equipper who loves to help me discover new abilities. If my dad is excited about a new book or a new movie, he eagerly shares his enthusiasm and invites our participation. I also find myself being that way with my own three sons!
One of my father’s trademarks is that whenever the family gathered for holidays or birthdays, out came his video camera! In the early days, video cameras required painfully bright backdrop lights. We would all groan when the bright lights came out, but later be thrilled by the immortalized visual memories.
My family and my father are wonderful gifts that I appreciate more and more as I become older. Family for me is inextricably connected with thousands of unforgettable and often hilarious memories. It is also connected with times of great sorrow and loss, great joy and celebration. Family is birthdays, weddings, funerals, baptisms, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, and yes, Father’s Day. My life would be much less rich without the gift of my family and my father.
One of my father’s most memorable projects has been his family memoirs. The term ‘memoir’ comes from the French ‘memoire’ for memory. We as Canadians are a nation that often suffers from cultural and spiritual amnesia. We so quickly forget the wonderful stories of our pioneering ancestors who helped make Canada what it is today. My dad often comments how he wished that he had listened more closely as a teenager when his now deceased aunts and uncles would talk about family history.
Just like the famous Afro-American ‘Roots’ Book & TV –mini-series, my father’s memoirs are helping me understand better who I am and where I have come from. My Dad, as an electrical engineer, loves anything to do with computers and telecommunications.
Through the use of a scanner and PhotoShop, my Dad has incorporated in his memoirs over a hundred pictures that capture the essence of our family life.
So much family history functions as oral tradition that can easily be lost or muddled within one generation. Much of Canada’s rich Christian heritage is being lost precisely that way. Psalm 102 says: ‘Let this be written for a future generation…’. By my father’s writing down his memoirs, I will be able to pass this gift of history onto my children and future grandchildren. They too will be able to learn the exploits of their grandfather being raised in a coal-mining town outside of Edmonton, helping his blacksmith father shoe horses, serving as an Air Force WWII wireless radio mechanic in the Queen Charlotte Islands, becoming an electrical Engineer at UBC, becoming President of Lenkurt Electric, before becoming a hi-tech communications consultant. The inspiring thing about my father is that he has always been able to ‘re-invent’ himself. When one door closed in his life, he would always find another door that would open. Like my hero Winston Churchill, my father never, never, ever gives up! He also never gave up in writing his memoirs.
The Good Book says: ‘What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation…’ (Psalm 78). My Father Day prayer for fathers reading this article is that each of us will have the courage to never give up, and the wisdom to transmit the cultural and spiritual gifts of our family history to the emerging generation.
The Reverend Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
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