August 15 – life making advice in passing

22/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. There are people that come into your lives and because of what they say to you, they leave a lasting impression. I was working at Social Services & Housing (welfare) in 1991 – part time while attending the UBC Teacher Education Program. I remember being at the Main & Hastings office and getting to know the front desk receptionist – it saddens me that I don’t recall her name. We had several conversations during my stint at that office but she made one influential comment that changed my life. I was married about three years at the time and she asked when my wife and I were going to have kids. I told her that there was no way we would be financially ready in the foreseeable future – we were living in a basement suite, I was in school and working part-time, I needed to get my degree, find a full time teaching job, my wife needed to find a career in her area, we needed to buy a house etc etc. I had so many counter arguments against having a child until we were fully established and that’s when she made the comment that changed me. She told me that a child will not care whether their father is a millionaire or just making ends meet, the child won’t care if they live in a mansion or a basement. All the child needs to be happy is love. She went on to say that once one goal is accomplished, there will always be another one that you need and then another and in most likelihood, you probably won’t get all the things in life and when you finally think you are ready you may find that it is too late to have kids. I actually envisioned a perfect scenario to bring kids into the world but she was right – love is all a child needs and I always wanted to be a father (specifically a younger father). A year later, still living in a basement suite, and on a temporary teaching contract, my wife and I were pregnant with our first child Natasha. Yes, there were tough times but we had support and raised an amazing daughter (and son) and ended up with the careers, home and “toys” but we did it all together with children in the fold. If not for that secretary’s words, I can’t even imagine what my parallel life would have looked like. Thank you to another person who briefly was in my life but changed me forever!

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