You know that in the deepest and darkest moments of our lives, we would be remiss to not give the credit of our development to those that have helped to shape us as we came through this life. Now please, bear with me in that I know not all of our memories of parents, grandparents, step parents, or even adoptive parents are all going to be lined with happy thoughts, and not all of us had superb childhoods that we would be willing to relive. Though as surely as I write this, I can assure you that, if you will allow me, I will try to explain why I say that they are due the glories of our success in life.
You see I feel that first and foremost we lose sight of how hard it is to raise a child. I do think that times have changed from the when of my time to your now. We are all raised in different circumstances, and in different ways, and also in the best way that our providers knew. I will not be foolish enough to tell you that they are exempt from blame, for they too are human. Please remember that though, they are human and will and have made mistakes. Just as I have in raising three wonderful children and most likely a fourth.
You see I think that the greatest challenge that all parents, in any generation face is the need to do things better than their parents before them. We all feel that we are capable of doing something that in some way raises us above our parents abilities. The truth is we are, and we can, but not for the reasons that we think. I believe that when we are trying to do something to a higher degree excellence, we are in fact channeling the parenting that we received as we were growing up, and whether it was good or bad, we took something from those lessons that we made into something that we could use and we felt comfortable.
I think throughout our lives, the challenges that we face are numerous, and the despair can be overwhelming at times. I also think that the reason we can rise up above those trials is in no small part related to the lessons that we have picked up through our lives. You may think that I make this up, but please, consider this. I was a drug addict, I was an alcoholic, I was so many bad things that even I began to believe that I could not be redeemed. It was the love a child that allowed me to use those lessons that my father and mother had taught me, as well as grandparents, and aunts and uncles, to become a better version of myself. Had you told me back then that I would have helped to raise three with the possible fourth on the way I would have scoffed and laughed. I can say with certainty that it is only because of the prior life lessons that I am here today.
As we raise our children or even go through life we will always catch ourselves doing things that we have picked up through the years, and although to some that may seem a thing that is not to be admired, I think it an honor that their commitment to us has began to shine in myself at least. I believe that the commitment that they really made was not only to raise us, but to nurture us so that when the trials that mattered most arose in our paths we were capable of overcoming them, and not only that, but to be able to guide another over those obstacles as well.
I will not be foolish and say that they got it right all of the time, but the amount of times that it was done right, their commitment was strong enough to make them count. This should be our mantra as we step forward in life, we should be as committed to others whether kin, friends, strangers, the needy, the helpless or the weak. Our commitment should reflect theirs and in doing so we will amplify the job that they too continued as so many generations prior.
The History We Make
I think that in our hurry to complete all the daily tasks that lay before us in a day we sometimes fail to take the time to consider the places that we have come from. I feel that in doing so, at least myself, has thought it a disservice to our ancestors and parents alike. I as but a humble man, stands in awe of all the generations that came before me, and all the commitment to their children’s upbringing it had taken to get to the point in which I was planted. It is now in these times that I remember my father and mother most. I can tell you that parents are not always easy, there are times when we think they are only doing things in order to deny us, what we believe, is rightfully ours.
I moved home a little over a year ago in order to help my mother take care of my father, and in that I was not as endearing and committed as she. There were times that it is and was hard to forgive him for the ways that I felt slighted being raised. There are times still when I scream into the empty air at the phantoms of a memory that are false. There are times like now, when it is hard to see past my tears, for in the six months that I got to spend with my father I realized what the true value of commitment was for. It is for the honor, to take care of the ones that raised us. It is the blessing of the strong to learn to love, and to hold those moments dear. I know now as I sit here that if it had not been for those lessons that at the time infuriated me so, my daughters would not be the beautiful individuals that they are. For all the faults of our parents the lessons they leave I know are the ones that matter most.
And now as I know I have most likely either brought you to a boredom unrivaled or, a mess of tears as I am myself. I would be happy if I could impart something that my father was fierce in wanting me to know in the short time we had together. He told me that the secret to a happy life was this. “In life take only what you need, and never what you want. Be grateful for the things that you have, and give to those that are in need. Protect the innocent as if they were your child and stand up for what you believe no matter the cost.” Those words, have driven me to measures and lengths that I never knew possible. So please, remember that our past is also our future, and it is that very thing that I will now leave in your capable hands.