“What do you mean you were the only boy in class to not have your name written on the board for acting up….you’ve got to stop that!”
That was the advice given to my younger son during his first week of middle school, by none other than his grandfather, my father….advice my younger son gladly took to heart and seemed to make his motto throughout the rest of his school career.
Yes, amazing how the advice changes from children to grandchildren…that is a far cry from the way myself and my four siblings were raised. If a call came from school reporting an incident, it was not met with the same attitude doled out to my son, I can assure you!
My father was one of ten children raised in the city of Baltimore, and from all accounts he was quite the little rascal. Recently we have been treated to more stories of his youth, specifically his time in the Air Force, where the playful pranks apparently continued. It occurs to me that the more rascally one is as a child, the more careful an eye they keep on their own children when the time comes…oh, I should have some very well-behaved grandchildren someday!
Growing up on a small farm we were were given more chores than I can remember, but I do remember hating them as a child, certain we were dealt a great injustice. We were also given plenty of free time, however, when our chores were finished to roam the woods, climb trees, and get lost in our own daydreams or storybooks. There were also the fun vacations spent at the beach along with the trips to New York City, Philadelphia, a Christmas spent at Disney and camping trips to the mountains.
Still, as with most children, I was sure the grass was somehow greener in my friends’ yards-no farm chores, life growing up in town…where I just knew things had to be more exciting. And, as with most children, I didn’t appreciate the discipline, chores, or general instruction until grown and a parent myself.
So now that I am a parent, I can certainly appreciate my dad….for loving us enough to give us chores, building in us a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility; discipline when we showed lack of respect to others, especially authority figures; saying “no” to us and setting boundaries for our own protection, despite our anger or resentment at the time, because true love protects, no matter what; and most importantly of all, instilling in us a respect and awe for our loving heavenly Father.
Now that my dad has done his parental duty in raising his kids to be responsible adults, he is free to show his playful side to his grandchildren, and we all get to appreciate that other side we missed growing up. I still smile thinking of he and I in recent years on the back pew of church trying not to be seen laughing at a scene in a movie that no one else seemed to find funny. Dad and I were cracking up and adding years to our life with laughter, then, and many other times besides, both in church and out!
So dad, along with all the good character traits you instilled in your children, your sense of humor and love of laughter and harmless mischief has certainly been passed down as well, and for that I am eternally grateful! Thank you dad, I love you.
Happy Father’s Day,