A friend and great mentor of mine, recently wrote two amazing, heart felt posts about his family. One which, doesn’t happen very often, brought a tear to my eye, and the second was about his father and how technology can improve writing. This morning my parents dropped me off at the airport for a quick to San Francisco, after giving quick hugs and goodbyes, I checked in a decided to check on my twitter account, just to see what was going on.
This got me thinking about, family and parents. George (@gcouros) wrote his two posts about family and the sacrifices that they make or have made, especially when it comes to their children. In his last post George mentioned that his father was not able to go to school and have the same educational opportunities that we were more fortunate to have, and I noticed a similarity in back grounds that George and I share.
My parents were and are much like Georges’, both of them have worked hard for the majority of their lives, and due to the sacrifices that they made for their three children, will be probably be working for years to come, while many of their friends have retired. As well, my parents immigrated to Canada, with the hope of a better life and to provide a better future for the children.
My parents came to Canada in the late 1960’s from the south pacific island of Fiji, yeah I know, why would they have done that, but they came and none the less I am very greatful for that decision. Neither of my parents were able to graduate and both stopped their educational adventures early. My father at grade 5 and my mother at grade 7. Fiji had a very complicated and strict educational system in the early days. After grade 5 you were required to write and achievement exam and if you didn’t make the top 20 percentile you were done. There was no re-write, no alternative assignment, no excuses. So dad didn’t make the cut, for him it was off to the sugar cane gangs to work the fields and make money. Mom, the more brilliant of the two, was able to proceed, however there was another catch in Fijian education and that was, even if you made the grade, there was tuition, and coming from a farming family with 11 children she went as far as she could.
Growing up I never understood my parents drive and pressure for myself and my siblings to get good grades, study, read and do home work. I grew up in the west, with all the amenities of a first world country. I wanted to enjoy being a kid. I can still remember the first time I wanted to get a job to get my own money. My mom said there was no way I was getting a job, if I wanted money she would give me money, that studies were more important than money, I disagreed. I did however, do what I was told and graduated high school, and later graduated university. The day I graduated I was excited however my parents were happier then I’d ever seen, I thought. Six years later my sister also completed her university career, oddly following me in education. However, the most elating moment for my parents occured two years ago when my brother, the last of three also became a teacher. My parents were extatic to say the least.
Looking back, I couldn’t imagine the hardships and difficulties that my, and many other parents went through to get their children an education and a better life then they had. In their late sixties, both my parents are still working, actually both currently have two jobs. When I ask them why they both still work so hard, they simply say “we always have and always will.” I suppose that some of this has rubbed of, as I am always working, and currently have two careers on the go, but mine are in the hopes to retire early.
All parents want better for their children, for their lives to be easier and simpler. For them to have more opportunities and more freedoms than the previous generation did, and although many of us have said the I love you’s and thank you’s to our parents for this. Do we really understand what their sacrifices meant and the extent to which they actually did sacrifice. In addition, have we said thank you enough, I know that most often parents will brush off a thank you and simply say something like, “seeing you successful and happy is all the thanks I need”, but I think that as a beneficiary of the sacrifices of my parents I should and will be thanking them every opportunity i get for the opportunities they gave me.
Thank you Mom and Dad – couldn’t and wouldn’t have happened with out you!
Oh one last thank you – Thank you George, post was inspired by you.