Father’s Day – A Son’s Reflection
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
– Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
I hope that you enjoy this week’s article which I dedicate to Father’s Day this coming Sunday about what the toughest SOB taught me about real life, and in turn, anything you do.
“Muscles McCullough” as he was infamously known in our working-class neighbourhood of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was not a tall man, maybe 6 ft, was head of the boxing club and school gymnastics and probably not the guy you would want to provoke a fight with. He also happened to be my Dad. He would walk on his hands for MILES down the street to school to prove how tough he was, and to build muscles that he used for boxing and gymnastics. Of this he was extremely proud. My dad taught me, although I didn’t realize it at the time, that hard work is essential to not only succeeding in life, but simply surviving it as well. He toiled in the mill, had a second job moving furniture and was blue-collar to the core. My Mom was very ill when I was a child and was constantly in the hospital undergoing surgery after surgery. I think that my Dad felt helpless to make my Mom healthier even though he was told she wouldn’t live long when they married, and when she passed away at 33 he was left with raising a son and daughter while trying to earn a living. All in all, my Dad was someone whom I feared, and yet, respected although the respect came many years later. He always told the truth and taught me that lying made things much worse regardless of the situation. He was always a man of principle and if he said he was going to do something, you always knew it would get done. To him if you didn’t have honesty and integrity you were a waste of breath. Life’s lessons are always a gift, even if it does not seem like it is while you are in the moment and sometimes you realize that in many ways the apple does not fall from the tree.
My dad was the toughest SOB that I have ever met, and throughout my childhood, I knew that I wanted a different type of family dynamic than the one I grew up in. Having my son, Myles, work with me in real estate has been such an incredible honour (especially as his Dad), and we have an open and honest communication that allows us to treat each other with respect and support the other’s decisions. I could not have imagined working with my Dad – let alone in real estate although oddly enough my Dad wrote and passed his real estate course in 1973 only to receive the results a few weeks after he died. It is amusing today thinking of how a potential seller might view the situation if my Dad was to walk up to their house upside down on his hands in a suit!
I dare not even think of how my Dad would handle a frustrated buyer involved in a home purchase. I know that there are better ways to dealing with negotiations than by using ones’ fists (in real estate, it is called a “counteroffer”). A large role of being a Realtor® is that you are someone working as an intermediary who doesn’t transfer the frustration and hostility that sometimes arises between the buyer and seller but someone who smooths things over in a calm way to bring both sides to an amicable meeting of the minds.
For all of you who have had a difficult road in life, or are struggling today, you can commend yourself for your toughness and determination while knowing that it ultimately builds character. As Winston Churchill once said, “continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”. I truly believe that my dad taught me how to build the foundations of my life and business and that there are no short cuts to doing either well. From hardship, I learned that honesty, integrity, and determination are core values. I am a more loving and accepting father to my own sons, and I know that I will never take my family for granted.
I really think that “Muscles McCullough” was the toughest SOB I have ever met in my life, but I would not have changed it for the world. Although the early part of my life was a very angry period, it was reflecting back later in my life and realizing how much everyone respected my Dad because of his values, regardless that he died with very little material wealth, that made me understand the importance of who you are and who you need to become to truly have success in your life. Thanks Dad. I wish you a happy Father’s Day and I love you simply and completely…forever. If I could sit with one person today and just talk, it would be you.
My son Myles is enjoying a very busy Father’s Day weekend with his sons Brad and Pryce, whom I am proud to share is now starting to look like a little man and will probably be as tall as his Dad in short order. Happy Fathers Day son, you make me very proud!!
We are also feeling very blessed to have Myles older brother Marshall coming down from the interior for a visit in July. I am incredibly proud of them both!!! Unfortunately Josh will be out on the tug boat working but should be home soon
We would like to wish my sons and all the Fathers out there a Happy Fathers Day!!!
Brian McCullough, RE/MAX of Nanaimo
#1-5140 Metral Drive
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2K8
Office: (250) -751 – 1223