Sunday, September 6, 2009

They Remember What You Are

I often think back to my childhood. This seems to be a consequence of becoming a parent. Most of the time I think of how I wouldn't have ever back talked to my parents or behaved badly. Mostly due to fear of my father's wrath. It is amazing how time can cloud your memory of what a pain in the behind I actually was.........time does that.......clouds your memory.

Sometimes though, I think of the kind of people my parents actually were. They weren't perfect in any way shape or form, but they loved us kids pretty much unconditionally but with many boundaries. I learned how to be a person from my parents.....most especially my dad.

My dad wasn't a man of many words. He was a respected teacher and coach at the local high school. You learned early that your word was a bond and actions always speak louder than words. He knew the meaning of hard work.....he was the oldest of ten children and had responsibility thrown on him at a very early age. He left home to go to college and never had any help from his parents mostly because they were too poor.

You learned from my dad by watching. He put his personal stamp on everything........his job, coaching, the yard work, and his children. Embarrassing my dad publicly was probably the most heinous thing we could do. This infraction incurred the worst wrath! Still today, I think of what I do to make sure that I never bring any embarrassment upon my parents.

Still, who I am is the man I watched. I am honest, and forthright in all my dealings. I don't commit lightly and consider other peoples feeling before my own. My word is the same as a contract and I will overextend myself to make things right. The worth of a day is often gauged by how much I got accomplished and I often expect the same from my children. I feel like my father's spirit walks with me daily helping me be the person I am.

I ran across a quote the other day from Jim Henson. You know, the Muppet guy. Here was someone who took imagination and hard work, shook it together and created brilliance. He said, "The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."

What am I? Do I yell to much?? Do I make enough time to listen?? How often do I lecture? The quiet simplicity of my father reaches to me at these times. I learned so much in the silence.....just watching.

What do our children see in us.....beyond the lectures.......when we actually live life? How have we served in our role as parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and cheer leaders? I can't answer this one yet. I am thinking today though of how my actions are interpreted by my children. I hope they see me as God's servant and someone who lived with integrity.......only time will tell.