What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Having all our basic needs met. True happiness is having my son with me and living right now, in the moment. I work on that a lot; knowing that now is all we have.
What is your greatest fear?
Like most parents, fear that something would happen to my child or to me, and then not being able to raise him properly.
What is the personal trait you most admire in yourself?
Internal strength. That branches out to empathy, patience, and understanding people, including myself. I’m a listener. I try not to judge. I’m very much like my mom that way.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Definitely raising my son alone. My son has profound hearing loss. His mom was deaf too, so I knew sign language before he was born. He’s 14 and a teenager now, so that changes things, but we still communicate very well.
What is your greatest regret?
Not being filthy rich – a philanthropic millionaire. But seriously, not figuring out what I wanted to do sooner. Not going to university. Now, I’m always at the library.
What was the best moment of your life?
My best moment with Taryn happened the first year I had him on my own, when he was four years old. We were living in Duncan and I had gone from Employment Assistance to Social Assistance. I hadn’t been hiking in a long time so planned a 22K hike for just the two of us into Landslide Lake. It was 8K to the campsite, 3K to the mountain, and another 8K back out. I packed and planned for everything but forgot my watch, and forgot to eat along the way. I was carrying a huge pack on my back, pushing myself hard, and every now and then had to carry Taryn on my shoulders. I reached a point where we still weren’t at the campsite; I was exhausted, at my end. Taryn saw me cry for the first time. I had just enough energy to put everything down and put the tent up right there by the trail. Taryn convinced me to leave everything and just walk for a few more minutes…. And there was the campsite, minutes from where I’d left the tent. It was Taryn’s idea to walk a little further and from that, I learned two things:
1. Never give up.
2. Trust your child’s intuition; always listen.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be more outgoing in social situations. I’m an introvert and like to be home. This place is my social life. Then again, I’m always trying to grow; A while back, I did public speaking for the United Way and it went very well. I have a basic confidence and set goals for myself.
What is the best thing you do to take care of yourself?
Two years ago, I quit drinking. Now I follow what I want to do. For example, I finally paid off my car and recently bought a motorbike.
What is your personal motto?
I have to go with Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
What is your current state of mind?
Busy. Lots going on but I’m happy. Motorcycling is my new meditation. It’s the right time to take it on.
What is the best teaching you have passed on to your child?
To always question and teach yourself to learn. Important to always be learning and growing. In order to be yourself, it’s important to know what you’re not.
As a parent, how do you adapt to such a rapidly-changing world?
Trying to stay current, questioning and learning. To not be afraid of progress. From an early age, I taught my son to think about the deeper meaning of things. Like ads; to question what they are stating as fact. To always remember how lucky we are to have shelter, water that comes out of a tap, the opportunity to learn.
What are you most proud of giving to your community?
Who I am. A single dad who works for the Centre and hopefully provides inspiration and support. That I help kids and parents connect. I hope that I give people another picture of manliness.
What would you most like your community to remember about you?
That I did my best. Not only that I made myself of benefit to society, but also who I raised my son to be. That’s how community works; Be compassionate, open and willing to listen.
What do you choose to celebrate about being a one-parent family?
It sounds selfish but I am able to make the decisions and don’t need to coordinate much with anyone. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. I was willing to go deep into that experience. There was a point where I realized I could do it better on my own.