This Blog is a repost of an article Written by Mr. O and published in the News and Observer in 1994, when Mr. Josh was 9 years old!
Expressing love is the best way to enrich life
by Rob Olevsky – 11-27-1994
There are, in this fast paced world, two simple things that I never seem to see enough of; smiles and affection. So, at this special time of year, please spread both among your friends and family.
As your mind wanders after that big Thanksgiving dinner, ponder your lifestyle (it’s never too late to make modifications), decide to spread more smiles, and before everyone leaves, hold hands and truly give thanks. Many of you already have what is important: family, love and health. All those “things” that you think you have to possess, or provide, soon pale when held up to comparison.
Is it true that our “lifestyle” can determine how we have handled the past, dealt with present and look at the future? I think so, and as I’ve gotten older, lived this life, looked for its rewards and found some of its treasures, my “lifestyle” has changed, as I have changed. For example, the older I get, the more I enjoy teaching new parents about my early morning encounters with my second child.
Back in 1987, when my son was two and before it was cool to be a “House Dad,” my wife went to work earlier than me. Consequently, I spent mornings at home with my son. We slept late and did “guy things” like wrestling and exploring the woods behind the house. We had breakfast together and went to the corner store to get my morning Pepsi. I will always cherish the time I spent with him, as he was my first child.
However, by the time my second child arrived, with some eight years between them, I had learned a little more about myself and happiness. I now tell those new parents about how I would get up, practically before sunrise, to sneak into my daughter’s room (she was a year old when I started) and sit in the rocker with the paper, waiting for her to open her eyes, to see me waiting for her.
My reward would be that “bigger than life” stretch, morning smile, and hug that would fill any Daddy’s heart. Every night as I retire exhausted from the day, my heart reminds me of our early morning agenda, an encounter with a smile just before sunrise.
It is not so much that I teach others, but actually I show others examples of what I feel is important, so that a younger generation might have other moral sign posts, besides the negative ones, on the nightly news. Many of the values that I’ve kept from my upbringing did not come from the lectures or discipline of my youth. Instead my values were learned by example, based on what I saw, felt or heard from my parents and relatives.
Maybe the things we’ve lost, teach us about the things that we still have. I really believe it is the value that we put on the things lost, that defines our character in the eyes of our peers. Freedom, marriage, children and money are just a few examples. The loss of any of these things, that we hold dear, can devastate an individual or contribute to how an individual lives the rest of his or her life.
As we review our past and present lives, and hope for our future, we should lay in a plan for “tolerance”. I’m not speaking of that Democratic buzz word for bigger government programs for all the down trodden, but instead I mean the continuing need to walk a mile in the other man’s shoe’s before you jump to a conclusion and condemn another in your mind or to others. I throw this in hear because I want you to remember that the “little” ears are always around, and they do pickup on what we say to each other in our adult conversations.
If you ever wonder, just listen to a 3 year-old repeating your conversation, half an hour after you shared it with another adult. We need to begin to show the “little” people that our fellow man does matter, and means more to us, than those material things that we so hard work for, but end up in the garage. I want to challenge you to volunteer, to help someone out without seeking any reward, to teach one of your skills to another in need. Lead by example.
Finally, as I look forward to the holidays with family and friends I make note of the main difference between my wife’s family and mine. At this time of year as children, I celebrated Hanukkah and she celebrated Christmas. Our children will learn about both. One set of grandparents will give them the values learned in a traditional Jewish family and the importance of times like Hanukkah. The other set of grandparents will teach them about the Christmas holidays they shared as a Catholic family. Our children will be better for having lived both.
This is the time of year that we think about family and friends. Many of us have lost some family and some friends. This is the best day to remember to cherish the ones that are here with us. Happy Holidays.