These things have been on my mind a lot lately and I've been wanting to write this post for a long time! I figured with school starting back for many people, now would be the best time. I'm not saying that I had perfect parents (no one is a perfect parent!) growing up but they were pretty close!
As an adult now, these are the things I'm most thankful for:
- Thank you for not pressuring us to get all A's.
You understood the fact that the grade doesn't always reflect what we learned. You didn't want us failing but you also didn't put pressure on us to get "perfect" grades.
- Thank you for not pressuring us to get perfect attendance.
Some of my favorite memories happened when we were with family during school days. Some of those family members are no longer with us and I am so thankful that I have these memories to hold onto. Nothing can take those memories from me and I can guarantee you that I learned more with them than I would have at school.
- Thank you for making us work when we were 2 (ummm I mean 15). ;-)
From helping on the farm to washing windows at church to help pay to go on a mission trip to working after school, we learned something at every "job". We've been working since we could walk, some of it we even put on ourselves like the Sunshine Cleaning Service and (surprise) we had a monthly "family" newsletter (I wonder where my writing came from?).
- Thank you for making us pay for our own car insurance.
Although sometimes I felt like I was just working to pay for insurance it helped reinforce the fact that nothing is free. To those of you reading this that are thinking we had fancy cars...trust me, we didn't.
- Thank you for teaching us the value of a dollar.
I think I've already shared my cash box story. I also remember receiving used movies for Christmas. And tons of hand-me-downs.
- Thank you for not letting us grow up too fast.
We weren't allowed to shave, wear makeup, date, etc. until a certain age. Although some exceptions were made I'm glad boundaries were set.
- Thank you for not buying us a toy every time we went somewhere.
I actually don't even remember going anywhere that would sell toys. Did we ever even go to Toys R Us? I don't think I've ever been in that store.
- Thank you for not taking us shopping every weekend.
See point above, I don't remember ever going shopping as a kid and I'm thankful for that. My memories consist of playing outside (swimming, running around, playing kick the can) and spending time with family.
- Thank you for not letting us grow up in front of the TV.
We did watch TV, usually as a family. I remember Saved by the Bell and Home Improvement the most.
- Thank you for following through with your punishments.
If you said we were grounded, we were grounded. Following through with what you said you were going to do make us actually realize there were consequences, although we weren't happy at the time.
- Thank you for not carrying "what everyone else's" mom or dad was doing.
This taught us to not care what other people thought about us once we got older. I may have taken that to the extreme but I believe it's a good trait to have if I do say so myself.
- Thank you for never trying to "keep up with the Joneses".
I don't know what kind of house or cars my friends' parents had, I just remember playing with my friends. You didn't raise us to care about what someone had or didn't have. You never made comments about other families. You never tried to outdo anyone.
Dad - I'm glad I'm like you. I get my extreme shyness, work ethic, not caring what anyone thinks of me, and my sense of adventure from you. I'm proud of you for all that you have accomplished. I'm thankful that you got us up each morning, made sure we were getting ready for school and then went and worked outside all day in the Georgia heat (and cold). What I'm most proud of is you hiking over 1,800 miles on the Appalachian Trail, when you were in your 60s and after having open heart surgery. You wanted to do that since 1972 when you were in the Marines (Oohrah!) and never gave up on that dream.
Mom - I'm glad I'm like you. I get my work ethic, love of family, and generosity from you. I'm proud for all that you have accomplished. You NEVER quit working, which is a good and bad thing. I'm also very glad that you had us stay with your mom and dad growing up. We learned so much from them. You took care of your parents (along with other family members) without question when the time came. You give people a place to stay who need it. You look for the best in people. Did I mention you never quit working? I think you have 3 jobs right now?
In general, thank you for not being so hard on us. You didn't let us get away with not trying but you also didn't expect perfection in every single thing about our lives. I'd say you did a pretty good job on me and "the favorite" daughter, Ashley. :-)