July 22 – U

363/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Wow, only 3 more gratitude posts left including this one!!  When I started this journey a year ago, I was a little nervous as to if I would have 365 people to thank.  I didn’t want it to come down to posts such as thanking my mailman for the flyers he delivers in that they were the ones that led me on to some awesome deal!! ; )  Early on in these posts, I started hearing from friends that so and so had made “the list”.  I didn’t understand what that was until I was told that it was my “gratitude list”.  That put some pressure on me to say the least as there was now a “list”.  I didn’t want it to be a list and I didn’t want it to be some type of contest.  Then I heard that some people mentioned they were in the 80s and others were in the 200s!  I do have to make it clear that I haven’t had an order as to who I thank and thus whatever number gratitude post it was has no relation to ranking.  Most posts are the night before or a couple of days before.  Yes, I saved my dad for his birthday as I did with my children for theirs, my mom was first because well she is my mom but save for them and the final two gratitude posts, no one had a day or a number.  The list by the end of Sunday is far from complete.  I could thank another 365 people who got me to where I am today and this is what today’s gratitude post is about – to all of the people I didn’t name and there are hundreds of you that have impacted me!  So many former students, co-workers past and present, family members, inlaws, bosses, professors, fellow students, random strangers, neighbours past and present, friends, backhanded gratitudees (bullies and the like), service providers, celebrities etc, etc – just so many people who have made me who I am and to all of you un-named in this past year, you are part of this gratitude journey just because you were not personally mentioned here doesn’t mean you weren’t recognized by me.  To all the new people that will come in to my life, thanking you in advance as some of you will change and influence me in new ways.  Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this 365 day journey as well.  Your encouragement and support has gotten me to this end point.

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June 19 – father figure

330/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  It’s dad’s day.  The day when male role models/caregivers/fathers/father figures are being recognized for their part.  Yes, I’m the first to say that moms are way important overall for children but if the dad is in the picture, he also matters and makes a difference.  Dads can be grand-dads and uncles, brothers and cousins especially in this day and age.  For all those fathers out there that may not be in their kids’ lives daily but do try, kudos to you.  For all those awesome fathers who are there for their kids, same on you.  And for those guys who are stepping up and being “dad” (whatever that may mean), well major props for you.  Yes, I’m second fiddle to my kids’ mom and I totally understand that bond.  My kids don’t necessarily appreciate me in the same way and I get it – especially with the angsty teenager – oh how I miss those elementary days with hand-made crafts and big hugs 😉   However, I was the same way and didn’t realize the value of my dad until much later.  Yes, he wasn’t around literally and figuratively but he did the best he could given his circumstances.  Thank you to him and to all the uncles who stepped in and helped out my mom to get us raised.  Most of you were not “real” uncles in the traditional sense of the word as you were more friends of the family or distant relatives but you were at times more real than my biological uncles and I truly appreciate you being there for assisting the family.  This one also goes out to my mom who was my dad for most of that time – took on both roles and yes, it was tough but you did the best you could and that’s not forgotten.  I know I’m not the best of dads by far as I didn’t have a consistent father figure to model myself but I try.  Hopefully one day, I have the same fatherly connections that I see out there in the social media world and will eventually measure up to my kids’ expectations but until then, I will keep on keeping on and try to get this dad thing right!  Cheers to all the dads!

March 3 – hockey dads

222/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Late night gratitude post – just getting home from hanging out with the hockey dads – the dads of the hockey players on my son’s team. I’m at a little bit of a loss. I’m not a hockey dad at all. I go to my son’s games. I am a dad. Does that make me a true hockey dad? Especially since I don’t really know the rules? Okay, who am I kidding – don’t really know the game? But this night out had nothing to do with hockey! It had to do with the shared camaraderie of having our grade 10 boys in hockey together. Oh, and the fact that we also like to have alcohol while we talk about life now and life back then. I didn’t really get to know any of the hockey dads that well over the season(s) because I kept my distance lest they discover the fact that I was not really a true hockey dad but none of the guys tonight or over the years of my son’s hockey career have ever given me any grief over my lack of knowledge – it has been more of my concern. The hockey dads that I have been fortunate to have met have been very accepting and have kept me in the circle – I know they know I know nothing except that I’m there for my son and I think they recognize this. In a way, I am getting to play out my sports career dreams vicariously by being a part of the hockey dad clique. I thank each and every hockey dad who has gone out of the way to connect with me as you have made this non-hockey dad feel a part of a bigger brotherhood that I was always looking on from the outside! Puck tossed in your honour!

February 10 – sidekick, ball, chain

201/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Every Superhero needs a sidekick to help him or her out. Usually the sidekick is the one who gets the Superhero out of situations by being there to save the day! This is the same in the workplace – there are sidekicks who help out in all sorts of ways and the only reason I refer to one as the sidekick is that they aren’t always the one receiving top billing. I have been both Superhero and sidekick over the years and sometimes even worked as an amazing team of Superheroes but for the sake of this gratitude post, I’m going to talk about a person who supported me as sidekick to eventually where I became sidekick. Early in my teaching career, some of the senior girls approached me to sponsor their cheer dance squad. I knew nothing about the sport but I knew that they needed an adult supervisor. I said yes and then immediately approached two other teachers – one being a counsellor named Moreen. Moreen and I got to know each other at Burnett and although she would never reveal her age (and yes, I don’t have enough decorum not to ask a woman her age!!), we shared the same birthdate! Moreen and I worked on that dance squad with a third co-worker and spent more time with the team than the average glamour sport coach (by this I mean basketball or volleyball) and we had away tournaments all over the place plus we had divas on the team when there was no such term 😉 However, we had a great time and Moreen even went back into her aerobics vernacular and brought out the “kick, ball, chain” routine. The two of us really bonded over this experience and became closer friends after that. We also ended up as two of four teacher sponsors on a trip to Europe and led a small group of students to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and almost lost a traveler in the Coliseum – oh wait, that was Moreen taking pictures 😉 Yes, we had our laughs on that trip. It’s kind of sad that once one moves on from a job, they lose touch with people that were close co-workers but the whole purpose of these gratitude posts is to let them know they mattered! Thanks Moreen for making my time at Burnett awesome and for being a good friend to me! Happy July 25th to us!!

January 10 – the power of coaching

170/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ve never played sports. I never had the body or skills for it as a child/teenager as well, my parents did not value sports – their focus was on my education. Given all this in my psyche, when I finally became fit and a young adult, I didn’t even consider taking up a sport as I had convinced myself that I am not athletic and to this day I have never attempted any physical activity other than working out. As a parent myself, perhaps on some subconscious level, I wanted to live out my sports dreams and I lucked out. My son who loves hockey – from street to ball to ice. I give him every opportunity and he takes it. This past weekend we were up in Hope for a tournament and had the opportunity to bond but he also had the opportunity to play but this is all due to the coaches he has had. As every person knows, coaches volunteer their time to give the players the opportunity to play. The teen players may not realize/appreciate the time and effort that the coaches put in but the parents do. My son has been fortunate that his coaches and their spouses arrange for great tournaments for the boys to play in and awesome social venues for the parents to bond with each other. As I mentioned in another blog entry for the fellow parents who have accepted me as a hockey dad, I am not the most hockey savvy fellow but I am so glad that the coaches can make up for my lack of knowledge and provide my son with an invaluable experience that he will reflect on as he become a young man and beyond. To my son’s coaches and all coaches in general, I drop a puck at center ice (I hope I said that right) in your honour!!