Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Parents Live On Through
the Memorable Things They Say

'When kids are young, they step on your toes. When they're older, they step on your heart.'
--a lovely thought my friend Don Southard (pictured here), recently shared with me, which his late father had often said. Don is a gifted, nationally recognized veteran science teacher, and a man who says the kinds of things his two children will also remember for the rest of their lives. We'd love to hear the things your loved ones have said that still resonate for you.


At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Kristine said...

Good for your friend! It's inspiring he can be the type of educator that the kids can admire because they learned something; and it's even more inspiring that his two children will remember his words. All we can hope for is to leave a positive legacy.

My dad always said awesome things, most of them very funny, many of them having to do with the Cleveland sports teams, :) but he was an even better listener. And he was so calm, a very calming influence on my life. I miss him so much. But the other day, when I got really excited about something, it's as if I heard him whisper in my ear, "EVEN KEEL." He always advised to keep an even keel perspective, to have your highs not get too high, so your lows wouldn't get too low. And if you're lucky enough to have had an extraordinary parent who left us with great phrases to remember, then you are lucky indeed.

And how ironic as I was writing this, Neil Diamond's "Hell Yeah" was playing on my IPOD, one of my favorite songs and inspirational to me. He was singing,
"So if they ask you when I'm gone,
Was it everything he wanted?
When he had to travel on,
Did he know he'd be missed?
You could tell them this--
Hell yeah he did
He saw it all
He walked the line
Never had to crawl
He cried a bit
But not for long
Hell yeah, he found the life that he was after,
filled it up with love and laughter
Finally got it right, and made it fit....hell yeah, he did."

Geez I hope I didn't have to go obtain rights from Neil to write that down! :)

At 2:12 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Kristine, that image of him whispering into your ear with a calming voice brought tears to my eyes. What a tribute to your dad. There's a legacy worthy of a king.

I also love your story for another reason: it's so easy to focus on sexier, more vivid things our parents might have done, said or encouraged us to do. But what parent wouldn't be tickled to hear that they've been a calming influence on their kids? That's better than just about anything else I can think of, because it enables people to do so much else.
Thanks for sharing your memories. You sure set the bar high on this first comment.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Pat Washington said...

Back in my college days, when I was able to see everything so black-and-whitely...I'd attempt to engage my dad in some spiritual and philosophical debates. He'd humor me for a while, and then he'd say, "You know, the more I know, the more I know I don't know." And the older I get, the more I understand what he meant.

On the flipside, my dad was known for what he DIDN'T say. I never heard a tirade, and he never swore, except for an occasional "hell" or "damn." And he had to be REALLY frustrated for that to slip out. Even today, I cringe when I hear people use foul language so flippantly. My take is -- if one peppers his casual speech with the "f" bomb all the time -- what do you say when you're really angry?

My mom? She'd pound around the house saying "damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn." Yes, a foot pound for each "damn." I used to count them. It was like a little fee-fi-foe-fum -- her way of letting off steam when she couldn't find something that she thought someone had thrown away.

They complemented each other. :-)

At 4:00 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

What a nice, vivid mini-portrait of your parents. Thanks.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Kass said...

My mom was full of little sayings (still is):
"Clean is a good color."
"This too will pass."
"Be sweet, young maid. Let those who will, be clever.
And you will find, friends last forever."

At 9:58 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow, the first and last ones are good enough to eat. Clean is a good color is such a vivid, fresh way of thinking and expressing a familiar thought! Thanks for those, Kass.

At 3:15 AM, Anonymous Caitlin Joy Ryan said...

That statement is very true indeed!
Whenever my three brothers or I would complain, my mother would always say, "It is what it is." That has stuck with me through the years as I go through periods where I want to complain that life isn't how I wanted it to be. And then I think, "Well, it is what it is, I guess. There is nothing I can do to change it and worrying/complaining sure won't do the trick."

At 7:08 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Caitlin. Nice to see your name here for the first time. I hope you'll come back often.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Britta Waller said...

I keep meaning to post to this thread and then my throat gets all caught up. I'll try: When I was little and couldn't sleep because I feared having bad dreams, my dad told me to think about pairs of pears. I still do that sometimes.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That lovely little story was well worth waiting for, Britta. Thanks for sharing it.

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