I’ve had the thought come to me quite frequently lately that Rob and I aren’t posting enough “personal history” because we’re always posting about our latest pictures. We have such a backlog that I get caught up in catching up instead of writing about more important things.
One thing I’ve been meaning to write about is some of the invaluable lessons I’ve learned from each of my parents. They’ve always tried their hardest to be great examples to their seven kids and I want them to know that I appreciate it.
From my dad I’ve learned:
- To find something, anything, that I love to do. He always wanted each of the kids to find a niche and explore our talents. Two of mine just happen to be two of his! Reading and photography. There were many nights growing up when I saw him reading in the living room. The room was dark except for one lamp on next to him. I don’t know why, but that always gave me a good, peaceful feeling. My dad had a really old (by my standards) camera that I was fascinated with and always wanted to learn how to use, which I never did. He frequently gave tips on how to compose a nice shot and think about lighting.
- That it’s okay to let someone get away with something (Translation: You don’t always have to tell it like it is). There have been many times when I’ve asked him either out loud or to myself, “Why is he letting him/her get away with that?” or “Doesn’t he know better than to believe him/her?” It’s taken me a long time to understand that he is letting that person work things out on their own. It’s not always our place to correct. Sometimes lectures don’t work. Sometimes you just need to show love.
- To enjoy traveling and exploring new things, including different people and cultures. He was in the Navy and was stationed in Southeast Asia and I always liked hearing him talk about the funny people and his experiences. He has always had the urge to get up and move somewhere new. I have that same urge. He also got me my first job in travel when I was 13. When I was 16 he took me on a tour of the Travel Department at Church Headquarters and introduced me to people he knew. I ended up getting a job there two years later.
- To value the Priesthood. My dad was such a good example of a worthy Priesthood holder. Along with giving us a name and a blessing and baptizing us, he gave father’s blessings whenever any of us felt we needed one. Without him, how would I know what to look for in an eternal companion? How can I ever thank him for that?
From my mom I’ve learned:
- That cooking for and eating dinner with your family is a really good thing. I was one of those really fortunate kids whose mom took the time to prepare good, healthy meals almost every night. Of course, I didn’t fully appreciate this at the time, especially on Minestrone Soup night, but I’ve learned how valuable this is. When I got married I didn’t know how to cook hardly at all. But the desire was there and I realized how much I wanted to provide that meal and time for my own husband and children to eat and talk together.
- How to keep good finances. She helped me open a checking account when I got my first job and taught me how to balance my checkbook. This skill has proven absolutely vital! I have no idea how people get along without knowing where and when the money goes. Money matters are still stressful, but mom’s example: Priceless.
- That it’s okay to not have a “Lightning Bolt” experience in order to have a strong testimony. She always told us “I don’t know how I knew, but I just knew.” If I hadn’t known that, I may have gotten discouraged for never having a “born-again” moment when it all came together and my testimony was formed. Instead, I feel good that I always just knew.
- To be charitable with time and means. My mom has always done so much for her kids, grandkids, and parents. She spends so much of her time serving them! She’s had several kids and parents move in and out of her home. She’s always running errands for them, loaning or gifting money when needed, offering advice, praying for, and planning fun get-togethers. Whenever one of her kids asks how they can repay her for whatever she’s done, she just says, “Show the same kindness to your kids when they need help.” What a great example!
Thanks for sticking with me through this long post. I just felt it was very important to express my love and gratitude for my parents. They have gone through so many things that would have broken any novice in no time flat. But they are pros. They’ve seen and been through it all, with much more to come, I’m sure.
Mom and dad, keep up the amazing job that you’re doing! I promise, it’s not thankless!
I love you!!