"I wanted my kids to know me."

This was the reason the late Steve Jobs gave to Walter Isaacson when he asked why Jobs allowed him to write his life story. Jobs zealously guarded his private life from the prying eyes of the public. He left behind four children from two relationships. In his final interview with the Apple co-founder (they had more than 40 tell-all, no-holds-barred interviews conducted over two years), the Pulitzer Prize nominee asked why Jobs was more than willing to open up so much. Jobs replied, I wasn’t always there for [my kids],and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.

When I read those words, I paused to reflect, “What would I want my kids to know about me?” I’m afraid some of us would be too quick to point an accusing finger to Jobs for this humble admission. That despitehis success in business, it appears Jobs failed in his home. But the proverbial three fingers are pointing back to us. What Jobs said brought to mind what my wife Ellen asked me one time, “What memories about you are you going to leave behind for our kids?” Would our kids say that we are always there for them? Do they really understand why we are doing what weare doing? I think the person we see daily in the mirror could not and should not dodge those piercing questions.

My father, the late Efren Cortez, was a man of few words. Yet, he was fun to be with. I remember the time we walked after watching a movie from a theater to our house ten blocks away. Somehow, the coins for the fare fell from his pocket when he took something from it. So, we had to walk back home. Along the way, he asked me math questions. He loved to dance with my mother. Boogie. Cha-cha. Name it. He was so good at it! I learned the value of hard work from him. I recall seeing the pattern of his t-shirt on his body whenever he would dress up. His arms got sunburned because he rode a motorcycle in his work. He encouraged me to become a working student when I was in college. Being the quiet type, he was not so vocal in praising our triumphs. But when he died, his friends and co-employees looked for me. They told me that he talked a lot about me. We didn’t have much in life. But I saw that my father had a lot of good friends. He was there for us and we know he worked so hard that he died before reaching retirement because he wanted to take good care of us. Those are the values that I got from him and hope that I could pass them on to my kids as well.

One of my favorite pictures of Tatay Efren

Brethren, what are the memories we are creating for our kids?


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