"Not to smile at a child's innocent happiness is to swim in the well of life without tasting the waters of all the pleasures it has to offer. Hold on to their tiny hands with a gentleness of mind and heart, a softness of spirit and a bucket of eternal hope, for in those small fingers lie the future of generations and the aspirations of potential happiness yet to come.
I love being a dad and there was never a happier time in my life than when my children were babies and during their first five years of life. While I know that I was always destined to turn out a good man and decent husband, I believe deep down that parenthood was my happiest and most wonderful of vocations.
I know that the greatest gift my parents gave to me was that they believed in me. My father used to tell me that if I was fortunate to find a job that I loved to do, I'd never have to work another day in my life before I got my old age pension. While dad was a strict man and tried to raise his three sons as heroes in the 'John Wayne' mould, his greatest misjudgement was not to realise that if one raises their sons good enough, they will automatically become heroes.
Having only one daughter, like many fathers in my position, I was undoubtedly overprotective towards her on occasions. The thing I found hardest to discipline myself in was to refrain from having uncharitable thoughts about the manner of boyfriend she brought home when she entered her late teens. I found that watching Rebecca being collected at our home on a date was like handing over a £1 million Stradivarius to a gorilla on the prowl.
And yet despite any worry or heartache that my children have caused as they grew, they have brought me more happiness and joy having seen them grow into good men and women who possess all the qualities that goodness defines and hope embraces. I love them all." William Forde: April 25th, 2017.