Building the Circle of Life

March 22, 2010 § 3 Comments

I attended a funeral the other day and was reminded of my own father’s passing on just over 21 years ago. Hearing some of the same traditional hymns like The Old Rugged Cross brought back memories.

It was my supervisor’s father whose life we were celebrating. He’d lived into his 80s and, through the eulogy, I learned more about the person I report to. I couldn’t help but smile to myself at a couple of ‘ah ha’ moments when I heard characteristics that also describe my supervisor and explain more about who she is and why.

Traits get passed on without us even knowing it. I now wonder what people would notice ingrained in my son that would also be true of me.

When my dad died, less than three months before my son was born, it seemed very much like the Circle of Life experience from the Lion King. My father had planned to come visit us after the birth. It’s too bad he didn’t get the chance. It would have been one of the joys of his retiring years.

Within a month, my son will turn 21. His future, like an unpainted canvas, lies ahead of him, particularly since he has not determined a clear direction.

I wrote in this space earlier that I want him to find something he is passionate about with an ever-increasing amount of choices in our global marketplace. Like many young people, he plans to begin seeking his fortune in a larger centre, likely Edmonton.

Once he does, who knows where that will find him. He plans to work a year there to help make some decisions with a broader view of the world.

Maybe he will be like a young friend of mine, Megan Koprash, who worked as an office assistant in my business during high school.  She finds herself working overseas after doing some globetrotting.

She’s supportive of Peter travelling to better understand his options. “There’s a great big world out there. It changed my life,” she told me when we spoke online today.

In her free-spirited way, Megan did a short stint in Taiwan before moving to England to teach, following her graduation from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

It will be three years in August since she began teaching in Essex County, near London.  Megan has considered leaving there a few times, but something always makes her stay. I think the place fits her personality.

“I am a bit of a drifter and a dreamer,” she reminded me.

I have always admired Megan for being both carefree and committed to what she believes in. To this day, she’s the recipient of one of the best letters of reference among the many I’ve written.

Even in high school, Megan got it. I would allow her time off to audition for theatre productions and she would reciprocate on her own volition by working into the wee hours on deadline projects.

Megan is who she is because a great upbringing and support from her parents, Margie and Ron, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

She will cite them when it comes to describing her success story later in life. Megan will go as far as her ambition takes her.

I’m pleased the letter of reference I wrote helped Megan get that job in Britain and to have been part of her early professional growth.

Megan’s parents did a fine job of enabling and encouraging their daughter to follow her dreams.

As a parent, you strive to leave some kind of legacy like that. I would like my son to see that I’ve pursued opportunities as they’ve been presented, allowing me to lead a very rich, rewarding and varied career.

My own father left his own trademark. I always thought of him as strong and invincible – that go to guy who was always there … so much so that months after he died, I went to pick up the phone to ask advice, only to remember that he would not be on the other end of the line.

His departure from this earth just after he started learning to enjoy himself was a lesson to me – to work toward the future but to not forget about living in the moment when good times are to be had.

Circle of Life scenarios are abundant and aren’t all associated with family members. For example, I think it is ironic that my blog mate, Wendy, was born just two months before I graduated from Kwantlen College in 1982. Somehow I think that is one of the things that link us.

In this relay called life, I enjoy passing the baton to others with less experience, helping them to advance into the fast lane with perspective and insight they wouldn’t otherwise have.

There’s no joy like having someone, whether a young friend or a family member, tell you that you made a difference in their lives.

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§ 3 Responses to Building the Circle of Life

  • Diane says:

    very interesting thoughts and contemplations. I think we tend to spend more time on these sorts of contemplations when we reach a certain age or point in our lives don’t we? Mind you, I certainly recall doing a great deal of thinking, pondering, and the like as a teenager and young adult. Then life began to speed away as if I had been caught up in the Indy 500. Life has returned to those more contemplative days. Great food for thought.

  • Megan says:

    It is surprising… the impact you can make on others; and that others can make on you.

    A kind word of advice, a fantastic letter of reference… or even a small favour (such as raking someone’s leaves) are gifts that we give one another without even realising it.

    Fate. The idea is something I wasn’t taught to believe in; but has recently shaken my very existance.

    Our lives intermingle for a reason. People will inspire and disappoint us all of our lives but the experiences bring us closer to knowing ourselves clearer.

    Wishing you all a unique and prosperous life where mistakes guide you, disappointments teach you and celebrations fulfill and motivate you.

  • Erin Stashko says:

    Now that 8 years have passed since you wrote the sentiments below, I wonder – what do you now note about traits that you have passed on to your son?

    “Traits get passed on without us even knowing it. I now wonder what people would notice ingrained in my son that would also be true of me.”

    You wrote about your son’s future – he would soon be turning 21 when you wrote this blog, and now, he will be turning 29. You contemplated his future, comparing it to an unpainted canvas, (and used the blank canvas scenario as he had not yet determined a clear direction. I liked that correlation!)

    You were thoughtful in your comments about the circle of life with your own father and how, very sadly, he had just missed seeing Peter before he was born.It’s illuminating to see the tie-in here: You wanting to have Peter realizing that you pursued opportunities, (and leading a rich, rewarding career with a lot of variables.) You then take it one step further by adding into this mix, that your dad departed earth just after he started learning to enjoy himself.

    You took that as a valuable lesson in which you would work toward the future, but not forget about living in the moment, and enjoying good times as they roll.

    The part that I am drawn to is what you stated here for your son, neatly tying up the important lesson that you learned from your own father (about living in the moment):

    “I want him to find something he is passionate about.”

    That, right there, is the circle of life. Your dad learned, then you, and now, your son – that one really must ‘be here now’ – live in the moment and enjoy the good times.

    And all while keeping an eye toward the future. You expressed you are happy to pass the baton to others with less experience and you are showing your desire to do that with your own son and others who you help along the way.

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