Thirteen years ago, I launched Horizon Leadership Institute Inc. In doing so, I launched my second career (and my second business) as an executive, leadership and team coach.
Today is all about Father's. I find myself reflecting on the Dads that are part of my immediate family. Each is a teacher to me. I am grateful and today celebrate them.
First, my own Dad Oren Claude Frood. He's been gone from my life since I was 29 yet I feel his spirit every day. He was charismatic, funny, creative, kind hearted, logical, and wickedly smart. He was also tortured, sad and lost. He and I shared a special bond. The kind where you could just be with the other, not talk and yet we spoke volumes to each other through our hearts. In fact, he was the person who taught me most about empathy. To this day I can still hear his hearty laugh and see his eyes sparkly with mischief.
I was blessed to have William Charles Hawke for a father in law. He quickly became my local Dad. He and I had a unique relationship in that we worked together for nine years. He was also a match maker as he set Peter and I up on our first date. We joked that ours was an arranged marriage. As a Dad, Bill wanted the best for his kids. He wanted them to achieve success in whatever they did. He was proud of each one of them for following a passion. Bill wrote poems for every occasion. He also wrote words that no one else could find as part of the eulogy for our son Ryan when he died. Bill was a very social guy and brought out his goofy, funny side often. However, I was privileged to see his deeply caring and compassionate side on many occasions. I learned a lot about loyalty and heart from Bill.
Then, there is my brother Peter Cameron Frood. Together, with his wife Francoise Cooper Bouchard, he has modelled what it’s like to unapologetically adore your kids. I have watched closely how he has loved and nurtured them through each of their life stages. He is a proud papa bear for sure. He too brings a good humour and teases relentlessly. He has gifted his kids with adventures in life and has modelled setting goals and going for them. His go with the flow state of being has been a powerful antidote to the sometimes intense life we experienced in our birth family. I’ve adopted that in my parenting style and am full of gratitude for the model of parenting he has shown – as Dad and now a Grandpa.
I also want to recognized the wonderful Barry Mark Moore. He is also a devoted Dad. When I think of Mark I think of play. His inner child is alive and well. He is a man of music and has a deep commitment to God, I have seen how he has woven his core values into parenting. His love for family in unparalleled. His care and concern for community has inspired his family to engage deeply in the lives of their friends and community. His commitment to playing in nature, exploring on a bike or communing through music has created many cherished moments with his family. Through Mark I have learned the power of being with not just doing as a parent.
Next I think of my nephew Jonathan Gerard Frood. On the Frood side, he is the first of the next gen to have a child. Seeing him step into this role seriously melts my heart. His pride and joy in being a Dad is pure joy to witness. His intentionality in wanting to be the best teacher, guide and champion for his son Logan is a reminder to me of the importance of the role of parent. His desire to inspire Logan to follow a sporty life is so much fun to watch. The world of opportunity is open to this little guy if you see the abundance of every type of ball or sporting equipment he already has. However, Jon also wants to inspire a love of reading and music, of being a social being and make sure he passes on the legacy of fun and play.
I am also equally inspired by our nephew Christopher James Kroeker. He too has taken on the role of Dad with an abundant heart. He joyfully plays and creates with his kids. The laughter and fun that is in his heart comes through his interactions with Aubrey and Everett. As a next gen father he’s found a way for Dad’s to bond by creating the Midnight Dad’s Club. It’s kind of a play zone for Dad’s to unit and spend time together. From Chris I’ve learned that parenting does not forego having fun.
Recently, I’ve been blessed with getting to know and love another Dad. Lorne Murray Hay is my dear friend Kat’s Dad. I’ve been an orphan for a while as my parents both died when I was younger. Lorne, and his beloved wife Betty, adopted me with open hearts. At 53, the opportunity to have Lorne in my life is a great joy. To find someone who can give a hug like only a Dad can at this stage of life is amazing. Lorne is a great story teller and I love hearing about the threads of his life that have shaped him to be the wonderful man he is.
Last, and definitely not least, I want to celebrate Peter James Hawke. Pete and I entered into parenting in a very precarious way. We were intentional and ready. Yet our first son Ryan had other plans for our parenting journey. He was born early and very ill. When Ryan died Pete was solid, steady and always present. He was also open with his own vulnerability and fears. He journeyed with me through the healing work of grief. He was stalwart in his commitment that we would survive our loss together.
Then came the lights of our lives – Shannon and Jason. Since the day they showed up, Pete’s mission has been to be a devoted Dad. I have a movie reel of images in my mind of many sweet moments he’s shared with them. All I know is how deeply he loves them, how he’s celebrated them at each stage of life they’ve achieved, and how much he savours the time we spend with them now that they’ve flown the nest. I love both his devotion to our kids and how fully alive he is when he’s with them. He is a proud Papa and I am blessed to share the role of parent with him. Through Pete I have learned the artistry of co-creation and the power of strengths partnering for a common mission – the wellbeing of our kids.
So, these are the Dad’s that I celebrate today. They are an extraordinary group of men who value family, love, commitment, and caring connection. I can’t help but notice that they all share common threads -- those of humour as they all tease and have wicked wits and how they show their love through play and being fully present.
NOTE-- Why I’m using full names. I recently had an amazing experience with a healer, energy worker and musician. He taught me that our unique essence as human and spiritual beings comes through in the architecture of our name. We each have a unique rhythm that is rooted in the syllables of our names. So I am using the full names of these awesome men as another way of honouring their spirits.
I haven’t met a person yet who doesn't love to receive acknowledgement, thanks or appreciation. So if that is true, why is it so difficult to do? How often do you quietly, internally think positive thoughts about a colleague, friend or family member and yet hesitate saying something. My hunch is a lot. We humans are masters of assumptions. We assume that those we value the most intuitively know that we think highly of them and appreciate their efforts. Because of the work that I do as a coach, I have come to realize that the art of appreciation is a huge skill to cultivate in leaders.