When both your parents pass away within the same year, it makes you think. You start to wonder what it’s all about; what it means to be a parent.

You give thought to what difference you have have made to the life of your own children.

What path have you put them on?

How have you prepared them?

What have you taught them?

When they get up to speak at your funeral how will they remember you?

Wow, big questions for a Monday afternoon.

Well, what did my father teach me?

1) The value of hard work: This is something that both my parents instilled in us. you don’t feed, clothe and provide shelter for your family by wishing for it. Such necessities only come through hard work.

2) The value of humility: I remember one day as a boy, my father had a cold. He had a beanie on (in fact I always remember him with a beanie), and he was in no mood to play.

But I was.

So I ran around him pulling his beanie from his head. He would put it back on I would pull it off. He would put it back on. I would pull it back off.

This continued for quite a while. He was getting more and more frustrated and finally he lost his patience. He got up angry, grabbed me and hit me quite hard on the backside.

That’s not the bit I remember. He came up to me later and apologised for his action. It wasn’t anything I was expecting, no one expected him to do it, he was after all the man of the house. But he did it anyway.

3) Always get on with people: A couple of years ago, I took my parents shopping at Doncaster. My mother and I went in to the Supermarket and my father went for a walk.

(That’s probably another thing he taught me -Try to avoid shopping with a woman. Valuable lesson.)

As we were going through the checkout I looked up and there was my father talking and laughing with another man who I doubt my father had ever met before.

The funny thing was that my father’s English wasn’t the best and the man was Asian. Yet here they were laughing at something.

At one point they hugged and slapped each other on the back.

Later, I asked my father what they had been talking about. “I don’t know”, he said, “the guy’s English was shocking and his Italian even worse”.

So, for all those parents out there, I’ll leave you with a thought; it’s not just what possessions you give your children when you’re around, but what lessons you leave them with when you’re no longer there.

Hopefully, they are good ones.

Thank you.