Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nature AND Nurture

I'm raising two sons, as you know, and I'm fortunate that they have such good male role models all around. My father-in-law, for starters. Whenever we visit my in-laws, there is always a time when someone approaches our group and pulls him aside to thank him, quietly and passionately, for some help he gave not long ago, to a struggling family, or friend, or colleague. And it never fails, you know, that when we ask him what the person was talking about, he declines to comment. He is a community leader in the truest sense of the word, looking for ways to help those around him, in ways big or small, without calling attention to himself.

My dad, of course, who was always there when we were growing up. He wasn't much for lecturing us on how to behave, but he certainly led by example. There was one kid in our neighborhood, an older kid, already driving when I was still young, and I remember thinking that this kid was Trouble. But every time this kid drove past us in his souped-up little car, radio blaring, my dad always waved, and the kid always seemed to wave back. I wondered, back then, why my dad was waving at the kid instead of yelling at him or shaking a fist or even just ignoring him - my dad, who was clearly superior to this snotty kid. To this day, I've never asked him why, and I'm not even certain my dad would remember these casual exchanges. But it hit me at some point in my youth that my dad probably waved at the kid because that's what neighbors do. He was - and is - unfailing polite to others, whether they are in a position to help him or not, whether he likes them or not.

Then there's my husband, who is perhaps the hardest working man on the planet. He takes his vows seriously, and when he says he'll do something, you can be sure he will. He doesn't hold grudges, he doesn't gossip, he doesn't scheme. He's a far better person than I deserved to find.

So my sons have these examples before them, along with those they see in their uncles Don and Sean and Brian, and I maintain that they are fortunate indeed, and I am fortunate, because I know that whatever life throws at my boys, they stand a pretty good chance of taking away some of the best characteristics they see in these examples before them - not just the olive skin, or the blue eyes, or the curly hair, but the humor, the intellect, the kindness and the curiosity. My boys are going to turn out okay.

Happy Father's Day, everyone. 


Mrs. Dreaming said... [Reply]

Lovely! It is great that your boys have the best of both to emulate.

Please. Write your own stuff.