Sunday, June 20, 2021

To the Men who have been my Mentors

This entry was modelled after Chapter One of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. The original post was created 10 years ago as a Facebook post. I've taken the opportunity to update it and republish it here.

Today I honour the men in my life who have taught me what it is to be a man.

To my Step-Father,  George Arthur Daw,  who showed me that order, discipline, love and joy can all live together in the same heart.

To my Father-In-Law, William Arthur Lindley, who demonstrated patience, forgiveness, a thirst for knowledge, humble wisdom, but most of all, that family is first in a man's heart.

To my Grandfather, Gérard Aurèle Laflamme, through whose example of hard work, diligence and inventiveness, I understand the value of persistence and perseverance. His legacy serves as a reminder that there is no shame in any honest work if it is accomplished with integrity.

To my three brothers,  Tex, Guy, and André, who have each shown in their own way that there is love, joy and celebration even amongst the struggles and uncertainties of life. They have taught me what the brotherhood of men really means.

To my three brothers-in-law, David, Ian, and Jim, who by their own lives have shone a light on the stages of raising a family so that I may choose my own way with confidence.

To my sons-in-law, Joshua and Erick, who have taught me by their example that fatherhood comes in many different shapes and sizes, so long as there is love and understanding.

To my own son, Adam, who has shown me that success as a father of a boy is not measured by creating a copy of oneself,  but rather that his son has become a good man in his own right and in his own way. Also, there are no bounds to the pride and pleasure one man can feel in the accomplishments of another.

All these men, and many others, have formed about me a community of strength and tenderness, of trust and diligence, of life, love and a firm determination to find the best in myself and to express it. To all of them, I say with the deepest gratitude, Thank You, and may I make you proud to know me.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Half Past 21 - Our Quarterly Deliberation

There is a Stoic action pattern that my wife and I follow. When we need to make an important decision, we rely on three key practices: hesitation, deliberation, and reservation.

Hesitation simply means to slow down, to not jump to conclusions from incomplete data, to allow emotions to inform but not distort our perceptions. Hesitation tells us to wait and gather our strength before making the decision.

Reservation is the practice of letting go of ultimate results, of acknowledging that though our action well-informed and well-intentioned, the facts are that we are not omniscient or omnipotent, and our actions, and in fact, all our lives are buffeted by the winds of a chaotic world.

Deliberation is the fulcrum on which our lives are balanced. This is the pivot point of action. It is the decisions that come before the actions.

Once, near the beginning of each quarter, we sit together to discuss the best path for our next three months. These are the Quarterly Deliberations. 

We use a handy five-point review to remind us of all the aspects of our lives we should consider as we strive to build a Flourishing Life:

  • Faith
  • Finance
  • Fitness
  • Fulfillment
  • Family
Once we have spent about three hours of in-depth conversation, checking balances, coordinating calendars, populating to-do lists, and communicating with friends and family, we can rest assured that we have done what we can with what we know to be as prepared as possible. But these are assumptions and subject to the vagueries of chance. Kind of like the rest of life, right?