If you told me twenty five years ago I would be traveling the world, I would have laughed and probably said you must have lost your mind. Twenty five years ago I was finishing up High School at Northern Secondary with no clue of what the future might have in store for me.
The area where my family lived had four major boundaries: Dundas, Parliament, River and College streets. It took me fifteen years after high school to confidently let people know that I grew up in Regent Park. I thought that once you said that you were from Regent, you would be given the negative stereotype that comes with it so I never talked about my past.
Looking back, Regent was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Living there taught me about empathy, conflict resolution and gave me the ability to laugh at myself.
Since most of my friends had no father figure in their household I thought nothing of it I figured most people lived in single parent households: Your mother just played the role of both parents. Years passed before I realized that most successful students had a strong family unit behind them.
I also realized that my boundaries had turned into restrictions that were self induced.
I’m a dad now and I don’t want my boys to feel the limitations that I felt. The main reason that we are doing this trip is to show them how much there is beyond their province, country and continent. I want to show them that the world is their playground.
I want this year to establish a relationship and bond that I never experienced with my father. Hopefully this year away will also help me establish a friendship that will help in their teenage years and allow me to teach my boys that there are no such things as bad people it is our circumstances that make us who we are.
I’m trying to teach the boys that it’s alright to make mistakes and that when you do, you can use it as a learning experience; to work hard; and most of all to never put off what you can do today for tomorrow because it might not come.
If all goes according to plan they’ll be not only better students but better individuals in the end.