Every now and then I will say something in a certain way or act in a certain fashion that makes me stop and wonder when one of my parents took over my body. More often than not I find these instances to be pretty humorous. They also are powerful reminders of the profound influence that our parents can have upon us.
My parents are fairly private people – they don’t generally like it when a lot of attention is placed upon them. As a couple married for 57 years this year, they enjoy one another’s company and stay pretty close to home. At this point in their lives, their greatest pleasures revolve around home and family. Although they shy away from the limelight, I am mindful that many people have actually met my parents and have come to know them – in an interesting and unusual way.
My mom is a retired registered nurse and nursing educator. She had a very successful career in both fields prior to making the time to raise her family. She resumed her career as I entered my junior year in high school, and eventually retired as a well-respected professional educator. By her nature, my mom tends to be very sensitive to the emotions of others, and she has a very keen ability to read situations based on body language and a host of other non-verbal cues. She also is a very gifted teacher, able to take very complex concepts and make them easily accessible for people of all ages. Mom also is an accomplished musician and artist.
As is often the case with very strong couples, my dad’s nature and skills are very different from my mom’s, and yet Dad’s abilities are very complementary to Mom’s. Dad spent his professional career as an electrical and mechanical engineer. He has a very keen sense of appreciation for how things work. My sense is that Dad can fix or repair pretty much anything as long as he has some baling twine and chewing gum. As an engineer, Dad’s mind is highly trained in math and he can be very analytical in nature. He has an innate ability to evaluate situations and understand why things are the way they are. Dad also has a deep appreciation for history and is fascinated by how the items that are a part of our everyday lives have changed and developed through the centuries.
Although many people have not met my parents, they have met them through me. As I enter into mid-life, I have a growing and deepening appreciation for the many ways my parents have profoundly influenced my life. Who I am and the ways that I look at the world around me are a wonderful hybrid of so many aspects of my parents. I love to teach, and I can be very analytical. I deeply value people and emotions, but I am also fascinated by gadgets. I have my mother’s love for art and music, and my dad’s love for history and science. In becoming more aware of my parents’ influence upon my life, I also have the continued opportunity to honor my mother and father. I happily embrace these many aspects of my own life and I can now see how they are rooted in both who and how my parents are in the world. I also know that my parents share a profound love for God and deep faith. This, too, is a gift they have given me, and my choice to be a person of faith is also a way that I honor my mother and father.
It seems to me that how we honor our parents has to do with loving and respecting them as well as loving, respecting and appreciating the many ways they have influenced each of us to become who we are. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day just around the corner, perhaps we have a new opportunity to thank God for the influence that our parents have upon us and how we, in turn, can honor them in how we live each day. And so, with thanks to God, Mom and Dad, our journey in FAITH continues.
Father Dwight Ezop is editor of FAITH Magazine and pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Fenton. Email: editor@FAITHpub.com