Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Parents

My father grew up on a farm and then worked as a welder in the Rumford papermill as an adult, not a job he particularly liked, but one that paid the bills of a household of five children and a wife. His hobby was reading everything he could about the stock market, buying stock, and following the ups and downs in the morning paper.

My mother grew up in a Franco-American home with 8 brothers and sisters where French was the primary language and English the second language. During the Depression, they all lived on her grandparents' farm in order to survive. Due to poverty, she was not able to attend high school. Nevertheless, she was, and is at 86, a voracious reader and life-long learner.

Some of my parents' expectations:

1. "Supper" was a sacrament and we were expected to be there.
2. There's always room for one more at the table.
3. Treat people of all stations of life with equal respect.
4. Do your best.
5. It was never explicitly talked about, but simply "understood" that all their children would become college graduates. And so it became . . .

Jim - B.A. economics, UMO
Bob - B.S. civil engineering, UMO
Sue - B.A. art, Goddard
Mike - B.S. education/social work, UMF
Dave - B.S. business, UMO

How did your parents make a difference in your life?

What is your story?

Aspirations: 8 Conditions

1 comment:

Ed Latham said...

My parents were both involved with a very successful ballroom dance studio in Hartford CT. when they decided to move to the back woods of Maine. We lived in tents that summer as we started tearing down old potato barns and scavenging parts for our house. Neither parent had any experience with carpentry, neither had ever built a house before and Dad never got out of high school. They did have a dream, a drive and each other.

The story of our first summer in Maine is a great one that will be published one day. Throughout everything that happened there were always constants in our family.

1. Respect everyone
2. Appreciate what you have
3. Compare yourself to the type of person you want to be, do not compare yourself to others.
4. Jobs can come and go, accolades are nice, money is a nice frill, but the only thing that will always be there is family and friends.
5. You can't help others unless you are in good health and spirit.

We lived a life away from much of "normal" life. We learned how to depend on the individual strength every person has inside. All sorts of learning from two individuals that did not have tons of formal education.

Do we teach important concepts like the 5 above? Looking at this generation in schools now, one might question how effective we have been in helping young people grow into positive, productive people. The family unit is dissolving, teachers continually get more and more to deal with, and our children are still looking for that necessary guidance that our parents were able to give to us. I fear that our society may suffer soon. Our parents "worked hard", we befitted from their labors. Many parents are "busy" and seem to be increasing the distance from parent to child. How do we, as a society, help promote the concept of family. I can still hear, "Remember, Ed, no matter what you accomplish or fail at, not matter how much you have or don't have, you will always have family and the strength do what you can do." I fear that generations are starting to loose family and without that connection, many will lose that strength to do what each person can do.