By Michael Farrell, CEO of HOPE worldwide UK
Now that Father’s Day is almost here, I can’t help but think about my dad and how he taught me the value of generosity. Although he passed away a few years ago, his strength, humour and comfort have stayed with me, as well as the memories of how generous he was towards others. It’s his example that made me the man I am today.
So, in honour of Father’s Day, here are a few life lessons from my dad:
Be generous with time: Although my dad was very busy as a police sergeant, he would take the time to drive to a neighbouring town that was six miles away so I could receive handball lessons. I love these memories of our time together, and strive to give each of my children quality time.
Be generous in love: It was so obvious to me that my dad genuinely loved people. He would take me with him when he was visiting people in our hometown of Hacketstown, Ireland,as he provided not only financial help but also advice and a listening ear. He taught me about the importance of friendship and going the extra mile to care for others.
Be generous in kindness: Every so often my dad would get calls from elderly friends, saying that a ‘burglar or stranger was on their property’. My dad would regularly go out and visit them, often knowing that the call was prompted by loneliness and the desire to have company.
Be generous in community: Year after year, my dad would consistently offer his energy and time to support the community in whatever way he could, like driving people to events, volunteering on various committees and helping distribute cooked meals.
Be generous in character: My dad was well-known for his integrity and his fairness in how he treated others on the job. At my dad’s funeral, so many people came up to me to share stories of his example.
Be generous in spirit: Every year, my mum and dad would put a money box on the table in our living room and would encourage us to contribute. After a few months, the contents of the box would be donated to a charity to which we all contributed. Mum and dad would often help other causes during the year as well as helping people who needed support and friendship.
Be generous in devotion: Issues are inevitable in any parent-child relationship, but my dad did his best to connect with us by arranging 1-2-1 times with each of his children. I hope in some way I have reflected my dad’s generosity of heart to my three children. To all fathers everywhere, Happy Father’s Day!