Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Had my father been alive he would have died today. As some of you may know my father took his own life tragically just about 10 years ago. Death is bad enough as it is but when tragedy is mixed in it really lingers. To die naturally means that you have lived as you were intended to and for as long as you were to. But to die 'unnaturally' leaves many unanswered questions like 'why' and 'what if'. For me, this is what I must wrestle with as I make my way through this life.

I HAD A DREAM. I woke up this Easter morning here in China from a dream that two doctors (people I know but have not seen for a long time) and my father met with me to tell me he would die today. I rarely if ever dream (some say we all dream regularly but can't remember) but if I do I certainly remember because it is so rare. So when I dream I usually think about it and ponder its meaning. Some may argue that it is as pointless as arguing which came first "the chicken or the egg?" Nevertheless I couldn't help to draw a conclusion that 'perhaps' had my father not committed suicide that he would have died today having witnessed the last 10 years. My regret is that we all may have lost him too soon. As a son, I see it as my responsibility to ensure that no more is lost.

I may have had a 'strange' dream but now I HAVE A DREAM. It may be my controlling/bossy personality that makes me daydream. It was a daydream that brought all of us to China. I find that if you can dream it you can achieve it. I keep dreams alive so that there is ample reason for life.

A dream of both Janice and I is to raise children that are self confident and able to contribute to the world in a positive way. We only came to this conclusion recently after years of wondering what our purpose as parents should be. We have struggled with what we should or should not do and how we should do it or not do it. We have tried to keep up with the proverbial 'Jones' but have now lost sight of them since being on the road these many months. As we have now witnessed many different methods and seen many good and bad ideas we believe a confident child will do what he or she needs to do to accomplish their life's dreams (aka goals).

As I have mentioned earlier, the children have been planning and teaching English lessons here all by themselves. Each week they get more and more independent and confident in what they are doing. This week when Janice was to help teach two Middle School classes that I was double booked on but then was requested to attend a staff function for her school, I had nowhere to turn but to Sabrina.

I had one of my proudest moments as a father because when I asked Sabrina (as a 13 year old) if she could teach 100 grade 7 students during two classes she said "YES' without whining and complaining. I don't think many people (trained teacher or otherwise) would have risen to the occasion as easily and confidently.

The reason I tell you this is that we did not take this trip to isolate our children and eliminate any bad influences but to offer up the world to our children so that they can dream and work toward achieving those dreams. I can see now that our time and money has not been wasted. Sure, we have had many instances where we have questioned our decisions but nothing is sweeter than seeing the results of our efforts. We realize that we may not see some results for many years if ever but we must know that we did what we thought was best for our children as no one knows them better than us.

As anyone who has had to live would agree that life is sometimes confusing. When I was growing up we were told to respect our elders and to learn the three Rs'. I was reminded what the first one meant a few times in my childhood with the assistance of Uncle Willow (a willow stick) and really didn't understand fully what the second one meant but was not about to admit it. Spelling was one of my many weak subject areas and still is, so the 3 Rs' was beyond me. I have come to accept that they were to remind us of the practical and important things in life - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. If this is not what it was meant than too bad because this is my story! I would go so far as to add another R - RESPECT.

Like many people I have lost or forgotten what respect means. However I was reminded what it means and how it feels all in the same instance. During my class of 75 students I caught 3 girls looking at a cell phone and not paying attention to what I was saying. I got them to stand up as I made an example of them because I thought they we not paying attention (being disrespectful). They stood and took my slight ridicule but then stayed after class to tell me that they were not being disrespectful but were using the dictionary on their phone to understand the words that I had said but they didn't know what they meant. WOW.........so that is what respect fees like! I think I didn't expect respect because perhaps I don't show it myself. In any case, another week goes by and I think I am learning more than the students!!

When I think of the messages we send through our actions to ourselves, spouses, children, friends and neighbours all I see and here is : !@#$%^&*()_$%^&*()%^&*()%^&*()_.

What happened to the 4 R's even if our grandparents couldn't SPELL!

Another Once in a Lifetime Event:

One thing I thought would never happen in my life time (especially in the most populated country in the world) is to have access to an entire amusement park almost to ourselves. There were more staff then visitors as we went to Pearl Land for a day of fun on Monday when everyone was at school.
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hamiltonfamily on

Keep dreaming
HI Maaske's
Wow, I'm just glad when we get through a day without Duncan and Maddie beaning each other over the head! Maybe they need a challenge like Sabrina's!
Keep up the good parenting and congrats to Sabrina!

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