Well, since it is almost Father’s Day, I thought that it was only fitting that I should write about my dad. My dad is definitely his own man. He loves golf, NC State football, his family and God(but not necessarily in that order!). I joke with him that when he gets old all we have to do is put him in a recliner in front of his big screen plasma tv and as long as he can watch Fox News, ESPN, and the Golf Channel he will be happy. My dad loved his kids but hated recitals and there were many over the years. Piano, trumpet, clarinet, voice, band,and choir recitals. He would stay long enough for my brother and I to do our thing and then he would leave,but at least he came. Even to what he called our “Salvation Army Band” recitals. I got my sense of humor from my dad. My dad’s way of showing affection is to pick on you. I guess I should be scarred for life but I knew that was my dad and I knew that he loved me. Last Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law and I were picking on my dad and he got irritated at us. I looked across the table at him and said, “You can’t get mad at me, I am my father’s daughter!” He laughed and told me I was right. We call him the “Gadget and Gizmo Guy”. If there is an electronic device, he has it. He had a GPS before most everybody else did. He even has a GPS for golf courses!
If there is one major lesson that I have learned from my dad, it is you are never too old to do God’s will. He lost his job after 25 years of working with the same company. While he was out of a job, I never saw him panic. He knew that God was going to take care of it. He began to feel that God wanted him to work at the church that they went too. My mom had been teaching at the Christian school for years. It turned out, that they needed a business manager and my dad was hired. He still works there. Both of my parents have been an example of faithfulness to God, and to their family.
Last week my mother celebrated thirty years of teaching at Raleigh Christian Academy. It is an accomplishment that she has been in the same profession for thirty years but an even bigger accomplishment that she did it at the same school. I know that it hasn’t always been easy for her. I am sure there are times when the easy thing to do would have been to leave but she knew it was not the right thing. That is one lesson that I have learned from mother after all these years. The right thing is not always the easy thing.
When she took that job thirty years ago, she never dreamed that she would have such a great influence in so many different kids lives. Many of the students that she has taught over the years have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, businessmen/women, police officers, teachers, preachers, missionaries, youth pastors, musicians,and the list could go on and on. She started out teaching elementary and now teaches Honors and AP English. She even did a few years as an elementary principal, but realized that her place was in the classroom. She has been involved in the music program at the school and has spent many years as the pianist for the choir at school. She is a very gifted musician playing the piano, the organ, and the violin. She made sure that my brother and I were given opportunities to be involved in music. To this day, my brother and I both sing on Praise Teams at our different churches. While watching sports is not necessarily her cup of tea, she was at most of my basketball and softball games. Even when they were out of town. She may not have necessarily enjoyed them, but her kids were out there and so there she sat.
As a teenager, I always thought that my mother and I had nothing in common. Our personalities are very different, but the older I get, the more I realize how much like my mother I am. My love for books and music comes from my mother. My desire to not just have a job but have a career in which I can make an impact comes from mother. My mother instilled in me a job worth doing, is worth doing right. I can’t tell you how many times she made me do things over and over until it was right. I didn’t like it at the time, but as an adult, I am glad she did. She taught me to take responsibility for my actions, and not make excuses. Although she swore I was going to write a book on excuses some day. I could come up with them. I am sure there have been many days when she wondered what in the world she was going to do with me. I know I was not the easiest child in the world to deal with, and there were days when it seemed that all we did was butt heads. Believe it or not, I have a stubborn streak. I was more quiet about it than my brother though. He would just flat out dig his heels in about something, whereas I would say okay, and then go do what I wanted to do. I think we finally made a break through in our relationship when I became an adult and we were finally able to admit that we just didn’t understand each other. Since then, I have made more effort to understand her, and I know she has made more effort to understand me.
I think the most important thing that my mother has taught me is commitment. She has modeled this by her commitment to Raleigh Christian Academy for 30 years and this September, she will have been married to my father for 40 years. In this day and age, this is quite an accomplishment. I know it hasn’t always been easy for her and I am sure there were days she wanted to throw in the towel. The most important commitment that she has role modeled to me is her commitment to doing God’s will no matter what the costs may be. It is her commitment to God that has enabled her to be successful in the other areas of her life. Sometimes being a teacher can be a thankless job, but I am thankful for my mother and the influence that she has had on my life. I am confident that when she stands before the Lord at the end of her life she will hear “Well done my good and faithful servant.”