No. 1 son reaches 60

No. 1 son reaches 60

When your first child reaches the age of 60 he or she – he, in my case – achieves several milestones the most important of which is, of course, his own. It’s a truism to say that it seems like no time at all since my wife gave birth to a squalling brat in suburban London and he started on his long journey. How has he fared and who has he helped?

With an exceptional talent for music, perhaps inherited from his grandmother who was a concert pianist in the 1920s, Richard has made the best of his skills through piano, organ, choir, computer programmer and United Reform Church Minister. He still exercises his talents in all these areas. But it is with people that Richard excels, celebrating their arrivals and officiating at their departures and, most importantly, helping them through the rough patches in their lives.

Richard’s own children by his former wife, Koren, come high on his list of achievements. His son, Tim, manages a successful engineering business in Glasgow. He and his wife, Jen, have two daughters of their own, Ruby and Abigail. Zoey, Richard’s daughter, is a thriving fashion designer, wife of Jacob and mother of Benny in Brooklyn, New York.

All these are the achievements of someone gifted who has used his skills, intellect and common sense to make life successful. But it is in the area of moral influence that Richard excels. Brains, agility of mind, musical and numeracy skills and a love of being of service to people are all well and good but what matters is how they are used to help others. Richard does so with a relaxed kindness that makes for gentle but firm handling, the sign of a great mentor.

As his father, I am deeply indebted to Richard for his patience, perseverance and ability to see points of view other than his own. Thank you, Richard. And especially thank you for flying to Singapore for my 60th birthday to coach me to conduct the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. I couldn’t have done it at all without your tuition.

But I can tell that if I continue extolling his virtues Richard may run out of patience and remind me that he is a human being, too.

So I will simply say Happy Birthday, Rich, and many more to come.

With deep affection,