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.
You’re giving your kids the greatest gift possible — insight and knowledge.
Thanks Caitlin, I know they will appreciate this gift in the future.
Oh Ish! Goosebumps. Well-written. I felt your passion for this trip and for your kids come through.
I have tears in my eyes, Ish. This is so inspiring. You are my hero. And a big, fat YES to everything you said!
Thanks Jen. I heard we might be seeing soon.
I just learned not to apologize for where I came from. You are teaching more than your own kids Ish. My respect and adoration for you and your family grew even bigger.
Thanks sooo much T. Please let Guy know I need a CD of white noise
I started following your blog a month or two ago, on a friend’s recommendation. Thanks so much for sharing your family’s journey with us! What was the turning point for you? Did you want to travel around the world before you had your kids?
About ten years ago we (Heather and I) decided that someday we would travel around the world. When the kids were born we decided to do it when they were old enough to understand and appreciate how fortunate we are as Canadians
What an awesome post. I regularly read this blog, and this time I got a lump in my throat and made me think more about planning a trip with my own family. thanks!
Jen we are having an amazing time. It’s funny that life sometimes leads you to a path that you would’ve never expected. I am learning to stop asking too many questions and enjoy ride
Ish , you are atrue inspiration and a living legend. I am so proud of you and happy to call you son.
Always remember that each of us originated from “somewhere” but it is the destination that prevails.. This has been an amazing and well deserved journey for you, your family and those of us that are fortunate to participate in the gifts you share.
Thanks Bro. Well done!!
awe Ish, miss you alot buddy. Love this post and so glad you are proud of who you are, where you came from and where you are going with your life and your family. You are giving your kids every possible chance for an amazing life by showing them the world beyond our own backyard :)
Ish, I have not had the pleasure to meet you as I am an old friend of Heather’s from High School, but feel as though I have an idea of the incredible partner that Heather has in her life. Thank you so much for sharing…I was truly moved.
Enjoy the rest of your time together on your trip and I look forward to reading more!
So beautiful, Ish!
Ish my friend, this is a wonderful article. Thanks so much for sharing.
We really miss you guys.
Miss You guys too.
My class and I decided we wanted to respond to your post with a collected Shared Writing activity. Each student in Grade 5 made a personal connection with your post and was asked for a response..here are their thought.
My connection is that I have driven by your area and it looks like a scary place…There is lots of bad stuff at night that happens there and when my parents were there, they were told they should leave. You must be a really strong person.
In China there is some very bad places, that bad things happened when my Mom lived there. Its is very hard for people to get out of that area once they are there. You got out of a bad situation and are a good role model
Everything in life is hard and there is no reason to give up..that is what I thought when I read your post.
Stereotyping is stupid, people just think of how you look or where you came from you are a bad person, they don’t even give you a chance
people should not judge you by the way you look, I think it is unfair that people would judge you because of where you grew up
It does not really matter about all the bad stuff around you, it matters about all the good stuff inside you Ish., you have a lot of good in you
I don’ t think you should judge people by the colour of their skin or where they live..
Most of my students were very happy to write reponses, some also felt that they wanted a Dad like you because you didn’t leave when the going got tough..you fought back and are now an example for other Dads & kids without Dads.
Thank you for sharing this post, it is a wonderful look into who you are as a person, father and husband.
Traveling as we are it can be difficult to reply as quickly as we’d like, but I knew I had to respond to this comment.
I am extremely proud of
Cole, Will, Lauren, Mitchell, Kate, Owen and Jess for taking the time to
write such beautiful and heart felt letters. I was deeply touched!! They have taken the first steps to not
repeating the same mistakes as their fathers. The first steps are
recognizing the mistakes that your father made and not repeating them.
It’s hard to understand why these things happens at all, let alone when
you are in grade 5 . Please do not
let the actions of someone else or something you have no control over ruin your
life. Please stay strong and dream big, then turn your dreams into goals , then
write your dreams on paper and eventually you will reach where you want to be .
There are many scary places in the world not only in Regent Park. Don’t be sad because your parents left
Regent Park. Instead you should be happy that you are in Ottawa our country
capital. You are a strong person
Cole and I know you will find that strength someday.
China was amazing experience for us because of its long history and
its wonderful culture. In China we visited the terra cotta warriors in Xian and
Pandas in Chengdu. We only had good experiences. I am sure if you visit china when you’re older your experience
will be different from your mom’s. I am touched that you think I am a good role
Lauren you are correct, life can be hard but it’s the ways you handle
your issues in life that make you the person you are in the future. Smile and
the world smiles with you.
You’re correct stereotyping is stupid. That’s why it is so important
to learn about different places and cultures so you can have a better view
about the world.
Unfortunately people will judge you by the way you dress and the music
you listen to. Be yourself and life will be alright.
You are correct Owen. Well said! One the most important things in life
is confidence and I can tell that you have confidence, my friend
When you judge a person by their skin color or where they come from,
it’s like judging a book by its cover. It’s important to get to know someone
before you judge the individuals
I am extremely happy that you took the time to write me and looking
forward to meeting the class next year.
Keep in touch