Sunday, September 21, 2008

THIS I BELIEVE

I believe that I am the person I am because of my mother and father.

I believe that whatever I have accomplished in my lifetime of worth, and may yet accomplish, is primarily the result of the gifts given to me by my family.

The greatest of these gifts are the sense of self worth and the self esteem which have allowed me to choose some of the difficult paths I have followed in my life. I believe there is no greater gift parents can give to their children than a strong sense of their unique value.
Although as a child I was not conscious of this, looking back I realize I was raised to feel loved and to feel good about who I was. My parents guided me with a gentle hand, placed loosely on my shoulder.

My parents taught me about love; they taught me about tolerance and forgiveness, and they taught me about humility. They showed me that a person of worth treats everyone with the same respect and warmth, and that behavior towards other people is determined by their very humanity and not by their social position or importance. I have since come to realize that to do this one needs that solid sense of self, a self worth not propped up by inappropriate pride, but a sense of self that deflects pretensions.

They never spoke about these beliefs, they simply lived them because that is who they were; that is the only way they knew to be. My mother and father showed me their beliefs and their values by living them, day in and day out.

My parents are gone (My mother died in December, 1991, and my father in the autumn of 1995.), and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. I believe my life is a reflection of those two remarkable people, and I want it to be worthy of them

I believe it has been my great priviledge and responsibility to live my life honoring my parents' gifts to me, and to pass these gifts on to my children and loved ones.

I believe all of this with every fiber of my being.


Graduation from teh Jefferson Medical College, 1965



REFLECTIONS ON THIS ESSAY

I knew, as a child could know, that I had wonderful parents, even if that knowledge rested somewhere beneath conscious thought. It was only after I left home and began to meet and interact with the vast numbers of people we all encounter in our lifetimes that I realized there were many folks who did not share my experience. The older I grew the more I began to recognize and appreciate how fortunate I was.

Josephine and Spartico were warm, wonderful people, loved by so many nephews, nieces, friends, and especially their grandchildren. It has been easy for me to write about them in my personal journal, which I have done repeatedly. But writing about them for a public readership has always proven to be difficult for me. My computer files are peppered with attempts to do such, rarely lasting more than a few lines, or a paragraph at most. I’ve told myself this is because they have been so important to me...they still are...that I fear I could not do justice to their memories, and that my attempts to do so would only diminish them. Indeed, even with this essay I have managed to avoid the nitty gritty, the specifics and the clich├ęs.

4 comments:

artis1111 said...

Beautiful. I too miss my parents. Especially around the hollidays.Kathy

Lesley Rigby said...

It's no wonder Patience thinks you are such a treasure! Brought up by such wonderful parents you have all the best qualities you could wish for in a husband.

timerulesmylife said...

Wonderful post and words of wisdom!

Sara Jo Renzulli said...

I don't remember this photo. I love it. Grandpa looks uncharacteristically distinguished!