Tuesday, January 21, 2020

I Really Like My Dad (and Mom!) -- Lessons of Life Worth Learning

I like my Dad. Sure, I love him and love that he's my father. But, I also like him. He's very likable and I truly appreciate the work ethic that he helped to instill into me and the example that he has been to my six siblings and I. The photo accompanying today's writing is of my father and I in Alaska. It was taken about 7 years ago as he was closing in on becoming an Octogenarian. Today, he's in his mid-80's and is one of the toughest guys I know, maintaining his cabin life in Alaska's wilderness with my Mom.

If there's one thing about life that I think all of us can agree on, it's that nobody is perfect. My father isn't perfect and I'm not a perfect son or father. We all make mistakes. However, as a Christian I believe that God does not want us to hold onto bitterness and resentment in this life. Forgiveness can often times be difficult to extend to another person, but in doing so we free ourselves from the restraints of disappointment and anger that can grow like weeds in an unattended garden.

My father worked hard his entire life to provide for his large family -- and I've tried to do that for my family. My Dad always did what was best for his family, even when my siblings and I were not in favor of moving to another location and changing schools. There are things that parents have to do that are not always popular with their offspring, but when those kids become parents themselves they often realize the challenges of being a parent and the need to make tough calls for the benefit of the entire family unit. My parents had moments of such decision making, and I respect the choices they made for the benefit of our family as I was growing up.

Sadly, I don't get to see my parents very often. They live over 3,500 miles away from me and I have a full-time job and family to take care of. I try to call them at least once per week and they're kept apprised of the happenings in my life. However, I do miss them and have days of flipping through old photographs recalling some very special moments from the past.

As I've aged, I've experienced what it's like to have your children far away. My four adult children reside in states away from me and we don't get to see each other as often as I would like. They're busy with their lives -- as I was in my 20's -- and perhaps someday they will realize that I won't always be around and that their picking up the phone to connect can be a small gesture that can actually strengthen our relationship. I do the majority of reaching out to my children, as I'm guessing a lot of parents do when their children venture off into adulthood. However, as I've gotten older I've realized the benefit of reaching out to my own parents and can only pray that my four children will someday come to a similar realization.

Life is shorter than most believe and it's important to connect with and appreciate those you love while the clock of life still allows.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso