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Passing On The Good Stuff
Beyond the Battles, What Do You Want Them to Know?
If we are only placed on this earth to procreate and die - our progeny are our only real mark. What are you going to tell or teach or pass on to that next generation, if anything? My personal belief is much a much deeper association with why I am here, what I am here for, and a lot of what it is I want to pass on to the next generation. But have you ever thought of it? Editing this hub at the end of December, it really is still important - and remembering the holidays as they were, well that just won't happen.
We are in such a fast paced world where what we are going to do the next minute has to be closer to spontaneous instead of planned. We have lost more and more control of our time as our lives have become more "digitized." All those hours we are saving because of the improvements in our lifestyles are eaten up with more meaningless hobbies and habits that don't move anything down the road. I bought my first calculator in 1975 at K-Mart for $36.99 - it cut hours off my homework. It was a 10-key with -, /, +, * and = keys! I think it may have done square root too, and had a memory key. Wow was I efficient. Now, what I had done long-hand or using a slide rule was now just a few key strokes away. Even being so darned efficient - I never really had any additional time for anything. My first computer in 1984 could do thousands of computations saving hours and hours of my valuable time. But I kept on working until I couldn't and woke up earlier so I could - work.
Kids had entered the picture along the way - and I was working on paying for all those new things we "needed." We needed a bigger house, a bigger car, another car, more furniture, more toys, more money so we could get more stuff. And along the way, we found we had less and less time to enjoy any of the stuff we had or "needed." So what is it that I was doing that would be valuable enough to pass the concept, idea or practice on to my children? What efforts was I making that could be evaluated by history as worthy? That will set you down and make you think.
Having grown up in the '70's where freedom was a theme and a way of life for so many - I have always been somewhat of an anomaly. My parents were very religious and raised their kids that way. We were at the church anytime the doors were open. I was very involved in my church youth group and in high school, the town I lived in had such terrible schools there were 14 (still are) private high schools and 4 public high schools. I went to a public high school - where the girls went to one school and the boys another - on the same campus. So my only possible social association with females - church - and as luck would have it, it was the same for them too. I guess the lucky part of that was - they were also all pretty good girls.
When I went off to college - I was 17. At the time, 18 was legal drinking age. I didn't drink so it was no big deal for me. But when I passed my English 101 class second quarter - I did buy a Miller "pony" to celebrate! Drank the whole thing, all 7 ounces.
Also while in high school, I wanted to be on the shooting team at the other high school...so I joined the JROTC and went to school one period a day across town - and shot on the rifle team until the high school sports association would find out and they would kick me off. The year after I graduated they built a rifle range at my high school for the JROTC there!
So from high school, college and through 32 years of a wonderful marriage with my soul mate, what have I passed on to my kids or other kids I have known that is worth a hoot? What should we be doing or thinking about passing on to them? I like to look at what my parents shared with me as a start.
My folks came from solid mountain stock in West Virginia. Mom's folks were married at 15 and 16 and stayed that way to death. Dad's mother had a few mishaps and finally ended up with a man I knew of as Grampy. Both my grandmothers worked outside the home to help with finances - and they raised their kids as good, motivated kids. One grandfather owned his own business, the other grandfather unloaded oil barges on the river and drove trucks through the West Virginia mountains delivering fuel oil and gasoline. My parents were always working too. Dad was always looking for an opportunity to improve his situation. He made the most of his work even though he never graduated from college. Both parents put a high value in family, education, hard work, and most of all, a good relationship with God.
I married way above myself to a wonderful, beautiful woman with all the best attributes I could imagine. Not sure what she ever saw in me, but I found plenty to see in her. She loves her family. Her family put value in a good work ethic, education and a spiritual relationship. She had lost her father as a teenager and being the youngest of 7 and the only one at home developed a special relationship with her mother. She told her family about "these rednecks that lived downstairs" when she went home having moved into the apartment above me in our Junior year in college - only to be introducing me to her family 3 weeks later. Her older brother came to me and shook my hand saying, "Its good to have another redneck in the family." I had no idea at the time about her previous statement.
I say all that to say this, all the fights with our kids over hairdoos and bicycles and friends and cars and money; of all the arguments about staying up late, going out with friends, posture or grades, what I have boiled down the important things I hope I pass on to my children are a few special things that stand the test of time and generations.
Have a spiritual relationship with God. Knowing who you are will allow you to know who God is in your life. Without this understanding a lot of other things won't make sense. With this relationship, a lot of things that don't make sense, will.
Loving your family doesn't mean you can't argue with them. Disagreements should lead to understanding which should lead to a stronger relationship. Being there to cover your brother's back is fine even if you are his sister. You don't have to like a family member to love them. And loving a family member is different than loving friends. Marriage is intended to be forever, so when you start to talk marriage think forever from the start.
Take an interest in the outdoors. Learn how to hunt and fish, garden and camp. These elements of natural living will have applications to how you live your life. The cunning and stealth and respect for their prey that hunters have can translate directly into any business or educational exercise. Fish for fun and food. Once you fish for work, you'll put up your rods. Learn how to garden for food. Find both the economic and nutritional value of growing your own - then find th physical value in working your garden to produce some food. Sweat is good - whether it is in your garden or in your work. Camp under the stars and realize how big the universe is. Realize for you to be able to make an impact in such a large place, your works will need to be good. Breathe clean mountain air and salty ocean breezes deeply.
Find work that interests you and focus on doing it best. Don't be afraid to change direction, but do so reluctantly to be sure of the change. Focus on how well you do your job, not how well (or not) anyone else is doing theirs.
Never give up on learning. There are always others who know more about a subject than you do. Seek them out to give you greater understanding. A college education isn't a must - but not being educated is a waste of effort.
Choose to be happy. To do otherwise causes weird facial expressions when you get old. Choose to have fun. Choose to win. Choose to love. Choose to be positive. Making these choices makes life a lot easier to live. Collect a lot of lemonade recipes as you may need to make lemonade at the strangest times. Cut your own path when the opportunity presents itself. You may run up on some thorns - or you may run up on some gold - but you won't know if you don't give it a try. Learn to ask, "what is the worst possible outcome" if you are challenged with something - then decide to do it. Choose life.
Never stay in a job, a relationship, or a boat that is sinking.
Take care of your old, worn out father.