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Monday, December 23, 2013

Doing Your Best

Los Angeles, California
When it comes to raising a family. No disrespect meant to Los Angeles or any other big city, but I was raised in a small town, and there is no comparison.  The Pacific Northwest has been home to me for most of my life.  I love everything about it.  From where I live, I am about one hour away from the Pacific Ocean, one hour away from snow skiing, less than an hour away from mountain hiking and climbing.  I am also less than an hour away from boating and fishing on lakes or deer hunting.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll stand by it, I live in paradise.
Pacific Northwest
I bring up the subject because I was raised by my mother, who divorced my father, and moved our abbreviated family to the Pacific Northwest.  My father on the other hand raised three of my sisters, and three brothers from his new marriage.  Once I had started raising my own family, I remember asking my father, how did you manage to raise such a good bunch of kid in the likes of Los Angeles?
His answer was typical of my father’s communication style.  Very low keyed and laid back, he answered that you work hard and effectively, to attain the best life style you can for your family.  You make your family home your priority (with regard to budget), and you move into the best neighborhood you can afford.  Then he went on to explain, that with the better neighborhoods come better schools, and improved community services (law enforcement, fire departments, even garbage service).  Once that priority is accomplished you concentrate in the actual upbringing of the children to include: leading by example, strict discipline (to include accountability), and a healthy dose of religion (especially prayer).
I asked him, what he meant by making you family home a priority, and he explained that some of his relatives, and close friends spent large portions of their home budget on automobiles, and other material luxuries, while sacrificing, and living in a less desirable neighborhood.  When you as the man of the house spend most of your day away at work, you need to make sure that your family is living and going to school in the safest place you can afford.
I don’t know what kind of a man I might have grown up to be, if my father had been involved in my early life.  I feel that what my mother did in raising me is difficult to improve on.  I do however, know that my father did a great job in raising my siblings, and I am very proud of his accomplishments.  When my father retired he moved away with his wife to a resort town, and a home that he had built (and paid for) specifically as part of his retirement plan.
He had already been away (some 10 to 15 years) from the town where he lived most of his life at the time of his passing.  Yet he was held in such high regard that the memorial services required that amplified speakers be placed outside the church for the overflow crowd of over 300 people.  I loved both my parents, and admired and respected them always.  The best is yet to come.

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