The Last Supper.

image I was running the rough math in my head. They have been subjected to over 100,000 “course corrections” during their lifetimes.

Wash your hands. Tie your laces. Look people in the eye. Use a firm handshake. Wipe your face. Keep your voice down. Sit up. Comb your hair. Brush your teeth. Pick up your things. Put on clean clothes. Don’t yell. Get along with your Brother. Get along with your Sister. Say please. Say thank you. Say you are sorry. ENOUGH TV.  Read. Get to sleep. Go to the bathroom before we leave the house. Enough candy. Do your homework.  Plus 1000 others.  And, certainly not all of them delivered with finesse or a light touch. When you are molding a sculpture, some rough chops are necessary. And per the King’s rules, as long as the game is played within the fences and by the house rules, all is good.

In the early days, dinner out entertainment included “I Spy.” Coloring books and crayons. Stacking cream containers to see who could make the largest tower. And, guessing how many sugar packets there were in my hand. Our kids would not create havoc for other patrons.

Fast forward 18 years and we’re sitting at dinner last night. Not unlike one of hundreds of Saturday dinners out with our family since they were toddlers. And a mere few days before the nest empties for the first time.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Susan told me that the Gentleman serving us said: “You can imagine that we see all kinds here. I just wanted to tell you that your children are respectful. They say please and thank you. They are so kind.”

100,000 course corrections. Day after day after day. Some of them must have hit the mark.

I dropped my head and turned away. Men don’t cry.

Photo Source: Eric Kanigan (My Son!)

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  1. When the, “do THIS…don’t do THAT,” pays off, you know that THIS is what THAT was for.

  2. Clever, crafty and on-point Dale. Thanks

  3. Well done and said…

  4. Outstanding! I was wondering where you were taking this. Remember nights like that when you want ground them for the rest of their life…..good job, dad.

  5. Oh David…real men don’t cry, but Kings do. And I know the knots in your stomach and throat as Eric readies to head West. Love, pride, disbelief that time has run faster than you do…you and Susan have raised some incredible people. Well done.

  6. Great post Dave. Lately feel like I have been correcting the boys a little to much but do believe it will be all worth it. Sounds like your last supper will be remember for many things!

  7. I have a feeling that must have delivered the majority of that direction with a lot of love. That’s when it shows up in a positive way. Good luck this week and remember real men do cry. If you have any doubt I’ll refer you to my daughter who had a father that was a puddle when she went off to college, and to the prom, and got her driver’s liscense….The bigger they are the more they cry : )

  8. A lovely post, once again, David. I feel for you. Just wanted to remind you that, unlike other fledglings, the human variety do make a habit of flying back into the nest from time to time. This is not a finale, it is a beginning, and is not quite as terminal as you might sometimes think :)

    • Thank you Michael. Funny you mention about kids flying back to nest. I asked Rachel, college junior, when she thinks she’ll be able to cover her own cell phone bill. Her response, straight-faced: “you know Dad, I don’t see that happening for years.” I looked at her at broke out laughing.

  9. Such a lovely post, and wonderful confirmation of your efforts. I’m quite certain your kids will continue to make you proud over the coming years. Good luck in the coming weeks…

  10. Parents who invest that much effort into raising their kids right are getting fewer all the time. Well written post, David, and while you “turned away,” I teared up a little as I read this. I’m sure your kids will pass on the good parenting to their kids now. Good modeling is so vital.

    • Thank you Anneli. I happen to agree with you. Sit on a plane or go to a casual dining restaurant. Pandemonium. I get the shakes and feel like I to intervene and bring order. :)

  11. Verna Keraiff says:

    Way to go David, you learned and so will your children, like ours did too. One dad did cry when our first born and I left for UBC many, many years ago.

  12. David – well written and full of images. I loved this and all the best to you and family. I will tuck this away for a couple years when I experience the same day and then read it again.
    I love your words and the emotion behind them.
    – Michael

  13. Haha …men don’t cry. Good “job”! You must feel very proud? I can just imagine, nothing feels better than knowing all the hard molding has paid off. I recently heard a saying, we worry about what enviroment we leave for our children, but we do not worry what children we are raising to enviroment/world. :-)

    • Yes, we are very proud. Parenting can be incredibly taxing at times, but there is no greater pleasure in life (in my opinion). I do feel, as you suggest, that there needs to be far more focus and attention by parents, Mother and Father, in the raising of their children. I believe much of societal ills can be placed right here. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful comment.

  14. Great post and great job, all these are great reminders for adults too!

  15. I cry when I read a story like this. Breathtaking…and such a simple moment. Thank you for the glimpse of such tenderness…:-)

  16. Hello Dave,
    I wouldn’t say I was surprised but YES it touched me that although am at the opposite side of the world from you but I have experienced exactly the same stuff. Parents don’t wanna give this world a reason to point their kid out for a bad behavior. Whenever someone from our Relatives or Family Friends are due a visit my Mom comes to me and says, “Sonia, for GOD’s sake dress properly before they arrive. I don’t wanna see you in your trousers and shirt it looks like you have nothing to wear.” And unfortunately I never do that.

  17. Job well done Dave and Susan…gives me a glimmer of hope as I seem to be saying or correcting something more than ever these days. So looking forward to graduation, still years away, but yet hanging on to the cuddling and hugs at the end of the day. Being a parent is the toughest and greatest job on earth! :)

  18. Being a parent is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love…. Sounds like you’re doing a good job! Julia

  19. Wonderful post, wonderful. I have to admit, I read it yesteday, needed to think for a moment and have been reflecting since in quiet moments here and there. I am at the other end of the spectrum, my kiddo is still young – for this very fleeting moment – and I can see it whizzing by. I know I will be puddle when I am in your shoes. Thank you for sharing such a splendid moment in your life as a father.


  1. [...] title is “The last Supper” and then David started the article by mentioning “Course Corrections” and I kept [...]

  2. [...] The Last Supper. ( Share this:MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in: After kids leave home, Parenting | Tagged: college, empty nest, Empty nest syndrome, Fathers, Humber College, parenting, Toronto [...]

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