To celebrate Father's Day this weekend and my mother's recent birthday, today I'll share a selection of thoughts about why I'm so thankful for my parents.
My parents have both instilled in me a desire to help others, which I learned from watching their acts of generosity as I grew up. They are always willing to help others - whether it be snow blowing the neighbor's sidewalk, staying behind to stack chairs after a concert, or putting so much energy and care into nurturing and teaching a class full of energetic second graders day after day, year after year (okay, that last one is my mom!). This selflessness is a major reason why I take the time to blog about what I'm up to wherever I live, hoping my tips and advice will help someone else down the line.
My parents have also taught me to be frugal, which I like. I remember the first time that my dad took us kids to a Goodwill when some of us had outgrown our clothes - I can still picture bits of that trip in my mind. My feelings at the time are hazy now though, so I'm not sure if I was pleased or wished I were at a store with new clothes instead. But today I love shopping secondhand, and would proudly take something from the side of the road if it fit a need. Material goods are low on my scale of importance; it's experiences, relationships, and knowledge that I value.
Another trait I possess courtesy of my parents is internal motivation. Us four kids were always expected to do well in school, which must have something to do with it. My parents' expectations, being the child of a teacher, plus my older siblings' school habits combined to create a desire to do my best. That drive is why I now speak another language, am a UW-Madison graduate, have spent three years as an expat, and write so many blog posts in my free time.
I can also thank my mother and father for my musical knowledge. I took piano lessons from second grade through eighth grade (which my parents clearly paid for). As many times as I may have wanted to quit during those years, they made me stick it out. Cello was added to the mix from fourth through ninth grade, including four years in Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, and finally some voice lessons and singing in various choirs. Money was never plentiful when we were young, but my parents made it a priority to fund music lessons, instruments, music books, and WYSO for my siblings and I. They gave up their time to drive us to and from lessons and rehearsals, and have attended so many concerts over the years (the ones after which we'd stay back and help stack chairs!).
Not only did I benefit from the musical knowledge, which made my mind more fit to understand math and foreign languages, but I also learned how to commit to something longterm. You don't see results immediately when learning a musical instrument, and daily practice for 7+ years is an irreplaceable life experience - especially when you're young. The ability to put in continual effort for delayed results (if any results) has helped me over and over in life (again: learning a language, doing well in college, blogging, etc). From music lessons (thanks to my parents), I have learned persistence and patience, and I know when musicians are out of tune! ; )
There really is so much more - I haven't even mentioned how they let me be independent and move across the globe at age 20, and two more times since then - but that's where I'll leave it today. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being amazing parents and raising me (and the siblings) so well! I love you!
|With my parents on graduation day, May 2011|