Five years since Jack Layton died, a year since we buried my father, a few days after watching Gord Downie perform his last concert in his hometown, some lessons that I’ve learned from these men:
- Always wear sunscreen. By the end of his life, my father had nine separate moles removed because of skin cancer. He wore big hats, long sleeves, slathered on sunscreen and asked whether we were wearing it.
- Choose your words carefully. When I proudly showed my father my first ever printed byline he pointed out the word unique in my lede.
- Following on that point: Have the arguments to back up your opinions. Debating with my father was always infuriating. He would ask you to defend your point of view again and again and again. As a kid I hated it. As an adult, I understand what he was trying to teach me. I have strongly held believes, and I can defend them.
- Love, hope and optimism can change the world. I’m not particularly good at any of these things, but Jack taught me to strive for them.
- Isn’t is amazing what we can accomplish? Every day I look at my daughter and this rings true.
- Don’t stop until the job is done.
- Canada is a great country. The more people we welcome here the better we are. The ideals we have, we have to defend and build upon.
- No dress rehearsals, this is our life. There are no guarantees. Each of these men had less time than any of us would have thought.
We’re all in this together.