Blog #619 Parenting


I’m going ‘off-topic’ today.  I generally have a link from an article and use that as a springboard for my blog.  But, today, I’m going into parenting – without a link (although I’m sure I can find a link).

My reason is clear.  Today, March 19 was my mother’s birthday.  And, if you follow a religious calendar, it is also St. Joseph’’s Day.  Maybe both are cause for thinking of parenting – and in particular my parents.

My mother would have been 106 years old today.  She died at age 98 – a ripe old age in 2007. My father died at age 97.  In my family we have longevity. (I talked about aging recently – and living longer.  Many of my reflections about aging come from my parents.)

Let’s see.  My parents were born in 1912 and 1913 – with my father being a little older than my mother.  They were teenagers when the Great Depression occurred in 1929. They grew up in that dark world of little.  In 1941, the world gave them another shock with World War II. My father would have been 29 at that time but was in a job that was considered vital to the homeland.  I had uncles (and an aunt) on both sides of the family fight in that war – to thwart hatred.

Some people have called this ‘the greatest generation’ – people that survived economic and financial collapse, a global war, and then built a robust economy after that war.  

As a child, my parents took care of my sister and myself.  My sister was born in 1944, while the war was still churning.  I was born after the war in the ‘baby boomer’ generation. We were loved.  While not into the instant photography of today, the family pictures show a loving family.  Divorce was not an option for them; skipping church was not an option for them; and raising children in an economic booming time was different than their later teen years.

My parents were classy and classic.  My mother regularly got to the beauty shop.  I remember thinking she was the most beautiful person on earth (even as movie stars like Marilyn Monroe got more publicity).  They worked hard.

I wrote about ambition a while back, and my father was ambitious.  It wasn’t a blind ambition, but one that came from the depression – of wanting sufficient income to raise a family.  From a food worker, to a salesman, to an entrepreneur, to a real estate broker, each move upward towards a peaceful life.  

My mother always worked.  From running a candy shop (from the entrepreneurship years of the family), clerking at a department store, to being a great first grade teacher, she also lived life to the fullest.  

I grew up about 2 miles from my grandparents and we saw them regularly.

So, what values did I find with my parents?

Love – unconditional love.  In my family (and extended family as there were a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins around my sister and myself), hugging was part of life, knowing that I was safe and secure in the middle of the Cold War, was part of life.

Education.  My parents valued education.  My mother was a teacher (before marriage and then to help us through our college years).  They found ways to supplement our education with German language class (on Saturdays), acting class, Boy Scouts, and more.

Family.  First, my grandparents were close physically and emotionally.  Then our family trips were to visit relatives – to the Twin Cities to visit my father’s brother; to the Chicago area to visit one of my material uncles; to Maquoketa Iowa to visit my aunt and uncle (and my closest cousins).  As a city kid, I enjoyed going to Great-Uncle Rob and great-aunt Selma’s farm. I wandered through the barnyard – and enjoyed spooking the sheep, watching milking, chasing chickens and more. I remember helping my cousins in Maquoketa with putting up hay (maybe the hottest, dirtiest job ever!!!).

Faith.  Faith was always part of our life.  We were in our church at least on Sundays and then for other times as well.  I had perfect attendance for Sunday School for about nine years!!

As I have become a parent and now a grandparent, I had great role models that I hope I have passed on to my family.  And, those lessons about love, education, faith and family have been my core values.

So, today, I challenge myself and you – what are your core values?  Where does love, education, faith and family fit into your life?


Posted by Bruce White

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