Thursday, 22 September 2011

Lessons Learned from the Matriarch and Patriarch

Today is my parent’s thirty-second anniversary. In commemoration of that event, Dad shaved off his moustache of over thirty-two years! To date, it has not yet been decided whether or not his bald upper lip will remain. Meanwhile, everyone is dealing with the highly traumatic state of moustache withdrawal in which we stare at poor Dad’s face for long periods of time and begin to laugh for no reason at all.
Anyway, because of this auspicious occasion, (their anniversary, not the loss of the moustache) I thought I would discuss the lessons I’ve learned from my parents. The nice thing about these lessons is that not many of them were taught with words. Rather, I gained them from watching my parent’s actions and behaviour.
    1. Giving of your time, treasures, and talents are imperative to being like Christ. Through the years, I have been amazed at the amount of money, time, and resources my parents have given to friends, family, and church. My parents aren’t rich, by any stretch of the word. And yet, they always seem to have enough to donate to those who really need it. Mom and Dad are busy people, both working full time, but they make time to help others, moving around their schedule if necessary. Whether it’s painting rooms, talking people through tough times, or opening their home to others, they always seem not only able, but willing to give these things.
    2.  It’s okay to laugh at people, as long as you laugh at yourself as well. Well, okay, I took a liberty on that one. I’m not sure they would say that, exactly. But, I’ve often been astonished when, even in very tough times, they were able to laugh. Laugh off other people’s idiosyncrasies, yes. But, also at themselves. I think that it is a rarer gift than people think to be able to laugh at the ridiculous found in yourself, as well as in others. To laugh at the strange in people, but never the good.
    3. Go to church, no matter what. Growing up, it was twice a Sunday to church, and NO EXCUSES. I may not have liked it at times, but I’m so grateful that that was nonnegotiable in our house. Now, I wouldn’t miss a church service for the world. I even went to church, at the age of fourteen, covered in chicken pox scars. Beat that, if you will! ;)
    4. Expect nothing from others. Through the years of local church involvement, Mom and Dad reached out to a lot of people. Frankly, they often got hurt for their pains. I’ve learned that we shouldn’t necessarily expect the worst from others. But, in making ourselves necessarily vulnerable to others, we shouldn’t be surprised when we get burned. It happens, but that doesn’t stop us. Mom and Dad have been hurt. They’ve cried, they’ve prayed, but they have stayed faithful. They haven’t been daunted. Our family aren’t really high achievers, in a way. But, on the other hand, we know what’s important, and we go for it. Mom and Dad taught me the joyful art of plodding, slugging through the mud and general yuckiness of this life, and not to be afraid.
    5. Your sister is your best friend. They said this so much when Olivia and I were younger, that they must have felt like a broken record. But, it paid off. Today, Liv and I are best friends, and I couldn’t ask for a better one: all because our parents didn’t treat sibling squabbles as an inevitability, but made us work through them.

My parents taught me how to think. I’m so grateful they chose to not leave it up to public schools to tell me what’s what. They taught me that two and two is four and, though postmodernists may disagree, it’s never five. They made me learn how to write, how to play the piano, and how to bake bread. They snapped me out of my early teenager moods by not treating me with kid gloves.
After almost eighteen years of living with my parents, I still get a kick out of hearing Dad compliment Mom and seeing her blush and giggle. It still makes feel happy and secure to see them spending every day together, talking, drinking coffee, and working in their office. After thirty-two years, they may not kiss as much as they did in their first year of marriage, but they’re a lot better friends.

- Millie