In this season of giving, Parenting Now! asked community members to share memories of the lasting gifts they received from their parents.
Gustavo Balderas: My parents taught me to value education. Growing up, my parents worked very difficult blue collar jobs. They constantly reminded my brother and me to work hard in school, to stay focused on our future, and to treat others the way we wanted to be treated. If we did these things, we would be successful. These are words that I still reflect on daily.
Sondria Stephens: One of the greatest gifts I received from my parents was the gift of a close and loving family. Part of this was the gift of sisters and brothers (I am the oldest of five!), which was built-in fun no matter what we did. My parents also honored their parents by visiting them regularly, even when it meant spending our vacation budget to travel across country to see them. My parents were the ones that hosted the extended family get-togethers, even when we lived in the smallest house and had the tightest budget. It was never about the space or money – being together was the most important thing. We learned to honor the elders in the family and treasure the wisdom of their experiences. To this day, one of my greatest pleasures is spending time with family and watching the next generations learn the value of being part of such a close and loving family.
Melissa Hart: Every year for about a decade, my mother wrestled the latest edition of The Writer’s Market into wrapping paper and lugged it to a spot under our Christmas tree. The yearly volume is enormous, full of information on magazine and newspaper and book publishers and how to submit writing to them. I started submitted my stories and poems to magazines when I was 10, largely because of my mother’s encouragement–both emotional and tangible. Like most writers, I didn’t have a whole lot of success at first, but the gift of this book every year reminded me to be tenacious and resilient, because my mother believed in me. My nine-year-old daughter has begun to write stories and poems; I look forward to giving her The Writer’s Market. Thankfully, it’s in digital format now!
Rick Dancer: I got into my share of trouble as a teenager and while my parents had to take the hard line, my grandmother Maxwell filled in the blanks. She was not an easy woman, not at all. A bit on the stern side, but sometimes love has to be stern and she knew just what to say to make me feel corrected and loved at the same time. Unconditional is hard to do. It can shed a tear and tell you they dislike what you did but will never stop loving you… all in the same breath. My memories are filled with her bread baking, long walks and that look she used to give me. It always came with a crooked smile. How I loved that crooked smile. Grandma Maxwell left me with a gift. Even today I stand at her headstone with watery eyes and a warm heart, and feel unconditionally loved.