Parenting Now! asked community members to reminisce about the lasting gifts they have received from their parents.
Sheryl Kesey Thompson: “Whether they intended to or not, my parents offered my brother and me experiences, opportunities and travels that were unique and full of adventure as we were growing up. Although I remember not always being keen on some of the outings as an eye-rolling teenager, I look back on some of the most ‘annoying’ events, and they are some of my favorite memories today. The pets we raised, trips we took, and experiences we had were always a bit unique and I would like to think that in turn, such opportunities gave us great lifelong insights, or at least some great stories.”
The Rev. Dan Bryant: “My father entered graduate school with five children. We literally only saw him on weekends during the school year when he came home to serve in two churches 14 miles apart. Mom, who received her GED after I received my diploma and would go on to get her PhD, kept the household running while selling various products out of our home to pay the bills. Even though money was very tight, I had a most wonderful childhood and am amazed today as I think about what my parents were able to do in those years through their hard work, devotion to each other and love for their kids. Dad likes to say, ‘Two of my kids became preachers, but the other three turned out all right!’ We remain a close-knit family today, thanks to the wonderful job my parents did.”
Connie Bennett: “Lasting gifts from my parents include valuing curiosity, learning and exploration of our world. Education was important, and so was a vigorous intellectual life: conducting experiments, reading and thinking, theatre, art museums, puzzles and games, and lively discussions with others. Another legacy lesson was that the world is about more than just ‘me’ – we each need to contribute to our family, our neighborhood, our society – and through serving together, we can craft something better than any one of us could make alone. My parents also shared an incredible legacy of multicultural empathy and appreciation. I remember connecting with people from other cultures from my preschool days in Eugene, where foreign students were frequent visitors to our home, and when I was in my teens our family lived for three years in what’s now Zimbabwe and Zambia. Thanks, Mom and Dad!”
Julia Nelson: “My parents were intellectuals, social activists and nature enthusiasts. My brother and sister and I were born into health, intelligence and curiosity, awareness and appreciation of beauty in nature, art and music. We were raised to respect and trust people and ourselves and our own abilities. While not always agreed with, ideas were listened to, which gave us the courage to state them. I learned the value of reading, kindness, friendship, humor and solitude. These gifts enabled me to have a happy, productive life and to raise wonderful, independent, strong and loving children who are living their lives well and providing a happy home for their own children.”
Jace Smith: “When I was growing up, my mother instilled life-long lessons on public service and the treatment of others. In particular, she impressed the following rules to live by: Remember to treasure the opportunities you have; each day, remember to have compassion and empathy for others who have not been as fortunate as you; keep your heart and mind open to new ideas and change. These lessons have helped me through my life and the lives of others I work with.”
Dr. Pilar Bradshaw: “Music ties the generations of my family together. My great-grandfather was a German violin maker, and my grandpa Carl M. Holzapfel ran our family’s violin shop until he was nearly 90 years old. When I was only 2, Grandpa started me playing violin. We played music together for so many happy years in the back of the violin shop. Grandpa taught me that success in music, much like life itself, requires patient plugging away. After weeks of daily practice, when I mastered an especially hard bowing technique, Grandpa’s large German frame jumped into the air to dance a little jig. Now one of my favorite things to do is play music with my own kids. I hope I can pass along the love of musical expression and the invaluable life lessons that my grandpa taught me.”
Parenting Now! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families through parent support and education. Explore this website, visit us on Facebook and Twitter, or call 541-484-5316.
The views expressed in this guest blog are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.