#6 A Word to the Wise
A Word to the Wise
As I hung up the phone, my older-and-wiser father attempted to encourage me. “It’s okay to be disappointed. If I’m honest about it, I’m sad too. But don’t let your disappointment turn into anger. Anger festers and damages relationships. It’s just not worth that.” Of course, Dad was right; but at the time I just wanted to give in to my frustration.
For several months, we had worked on planning our family reunion. It was Mom and Dad’s “turn,” which really meant that my sister Kathy and I would be doing all the leg work this year. The decorations were bought, food was planned, and even a few fun things such as a photo booth were all ready for Saturday. This was Friday. Already I had realized that our youngest son couldn’t make it, as he now lived 8 hours away and didn’t yet have time off with his new job. Our oldest son had just called to say that his wife and child, our grandson, couldn’t make it tomorrow due to illness. And that last phone call was our middle son, calling to say that he and his wife would now be attending an event with her family instead. All of my previous bubbly enthusiasm suddenly gave way to self-pity. I had really wanted all of our boys and their families to be with us on this special day.
Fortunately, Mom and Dad had both taught us to try to look at the bright side of every situation. Dad’s little “anger speech” was beginning to sink in, and I decided to try to make the best of things. After all, I was going to get to spend time with my oldest son, which was very rare these days. My sister and brother in law were in town, and I couldn’t wait to spend time with them. Reunion day came, and we all had a wonderful time catching up with many of our favorite aunts, uncles, and cousins. We took goofy pictures in the photo booth, ate a lot, laughed a lot, and simply enjoyed being together.
As I write this article, I am reminded of all of the additional wonderful advice that my parents have given me over the years that has helped me not only be a parent myself, but to deal with the changes in the seasons of life that we go through. Mom often quotes Philippians 4:11; “……I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” She lives that out every day of her life, and said it again recently as we discussed the inevitable changes that may occur for her in the near future. What an inspiration.
Another piece of advice that Dad has often given me, when I’ve been hurt or offended by someone is this: pray for them. “It is very difficult,” he says, “to have hatred for someone that you are praying for. Pray for their heart to soften, pray for their circumstances. Prayer is a powerful way to help bring about positive change in lives, both yours and theirs.” I have often been humbled by these words, and have found myself on my knees more than once as I struggled through a situation with another person.
The wisdom that my parents have bestowed upon me throughout my years on earth has had a profound impact on the person that I have become. I appreciate those tidbits now more than ever before. I am also now feeling encouraged to begin to write down as many pieces of advice that Mom and Dad have imparted to me as I can; something that I should have done long ago.
I’d love to hear from you. What advice did your parents pass on to you that has helped you on your journey? How does it continue to impact you today?