He may never hear their voices on the airwaves, or see them carrying on where he leaves off in the insurance business, but broadcaster and insurance adviser Maurice Norville is satisfied that he can say his sons Rafael and Ramón are following his lead.
“They’re decent and they’re respectable,” he says as he looks at his two boys, one sitting on either side of him in his home office.
Being the sons of 62-year-old Maurice, whose voice is well known to radio audiences for more than four decades, Rafael and Ramón know some people expect them to follow in his footsteps.
But Maurice is clear that he has no such expectations.
“I’ve always said that I did not, at any time, want to suggest to my children what they should do for a career. I remember making a note and putting it in my desk drawer. It said ‘I want my children to be happy, I want them to be respectable and I want them to make their own choice so that they would be able to live with the choices they make’,” says Maurice who is also the father of 36-year-old Claire.
“Along the way people have said to me, ‘they should be in radio because they speak well and they have good voices’, but ultimately it’s up to them. Even though I’m in radio I wouldn’t necessary want everybody to go through the pain and the discomfort of radio. I mean, we make it sound like nice fun on the air but not everything is fun all the time.
“And people sometimes think that if you’re guiding them a particular way you’re saying to them that everything is going to be hunky-dory and then when things are not hunky-dory they start looking back at you and say ‘how could you do this to me?’.”
He admits that there was a time, though, when it seemed his sons were unable to settle on a career plan because of the wide array of options open to them.
It was at that point that he made a gentle suggestion that perhaps they too could enter the insurance industry.
“I had this idea that if they took to it, like a fish takes to water, that one day, in the perfect world, I could step back, hold a little corner office, read lots of magazines and books and tell myself I’m a consultant, and let them do the work,” Maurice says with a laugh.
At the moment, it doesn’t seem that is on the horizon.
Rafael, 26, sells advertising and Ramón, 28, is general manager of 360 Marketing and Consultancy.
But their father insists he is not in the least bit disappointed.
Maurice is very much proud of his two sons.
Looking at Ramón, who he says is much like him, not only in looks, he says: “He is a disruptive force and I know that part of it he got from me because I don’t interfere with peace and quiet but I do have a tendency to break it.”
“You know sometimes you get this feeling within you and you want to let it out,” he continues before bursting out in a “ba dup pup ba dup pup”, evoking a smile and a “that’s it” from his first son.
Rafael, on the other hand, is more placid.
Maurice says, though, they both share his “love for the ladies”. There is no objection from his sons, who laugh knowingly.
But even as adults, the two still look up to him, each wanting to emulate his work ethic and the ease with which he can interact with people from all walks of life.
“He’s very hardworking,” Ramón says. “There are very few people I know that work as hard as dad. I remember growing up, at a time when I didn’t used to like to sleep, or when I liked to go partying that . . . he would be leaving home at about 3:30 or 4 and I used to tell myself ‘boy, he lives so hard’. I couldn’t imagine waking up at 3 to go to work, but now I do it. I get it,” he says, adding that if he is ever blessed with children, he wants them to see him in the same light he sees his father.
Rafael is clear that his father has given him an important gift that he intends to take throughout his life, even if he doesn’t have children to pass it on to.
“He taught me responsibility. My actions still have consequences with the people I know so, even if there are no children involved, I still need that.”
For Maurice, it won’t take much for him to continue being proud of his sons. And the wish he has for them, and the legacy he wants to leave behind is simply this:
“I would like them to understand the magic of work – work that they enjoy. I want them to find the thing that makes them want to jump out of bed as early as possible, and if they have to take a siesta, the thing that would make them want to jump out of bed again and go to it.
“I want them to make a contribution to life and to the world. What that contribution is, is entirely up to them, but I would want people to see them as being highly respectable and highly responsible children of Maurice Norville.”