Within the last week, I was to hear about the sad passing of a childhood friend’s father, he had been unwell for a short time, finally passing away, after a short stay in hospital. It may be a sign of my age, but I’m attending more funerals than I am weddings, these days. The man in question really invested in his family, particularly taking an active interest, in my friend’s hobby.
I’d often wish my own father was like this, actively engaging with his sons and having a common bond with them, such as a hobby.
Recently I have been struck by a posting that has been put on Facebook. Which was a copy of the last words of Steve Jobs, the Apple supremo. In which he talked about his work, his wealth and his fame as being worthless, realising that his own pursuit of wealth had made him, what he calls a “twisted being”. Jobs talks about love being the most enduring things, in life.
Paraphrasing Jobs, he talks about material things being lost, but the only thing that will endure is love.
Investing in family
My friend’s father invested in people, particularly his sons. He was a very practical man, but always had time for people.
In 1924 Bill Havens were almost guaranteed to win an Olympic gold medal for canoeing in the Paris games. Nevertheless, with this in mind, he was to learn that his wife was likely to give birth to their first child, whilst he was away competing. His wife was keen for Bill to attend the games, but Bill didn’t want to miss the birth of his first child. Bill was to stay at home and watch his first son Frank being born. There were times when he wondered whether he would have achieved his gold medal, but never regretted seeing the birth of his first child.
Just like my friend’s father, Bill poured his life into his son. After 24 years the Olympic Games were being held in Finland. This time it was Bill’s son Franks turn to compete for the gold medal, in canoeing. Frank was to telegraph bill with this message “thanks for waiting around for me to be born, I came home with the gold medal”.
Are you neglecting family?
For Bill Havens family always came first. As with Steve jobs, Bill Havens realised that accolades tarnish, the same way the gold medals do. Are you neglecting your family today? If so think about it, neglecting them may have grave consequences?