Thanks Mom and Dad

Melissa - Cotton, Minnesota
Entered on April 1, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, gratitude
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Thanks Mom and Dad

As an only child, my mom and my step dad had a lot of time to devote to my upbringing and they took pride in teaching me their values that made me the person I am today. I absorbed many life lessons through their living examples of hard work and helping people. I believe in honoring my parents by living my life according to their example.

My step dad was wise but not highly educated. When I was young, my step dad became employed as a paper hauler for the local newspaper. Every night he would pick up papers at the news paper office and deliver them to paper machines or drop them off on the street corners for the paper carriers. He worked seven nights a week sometimes in sub zero weather, without complaining. Sometimes he would let me go with and help him. During the summer I turned thirteen, my step dad had heart bypass surgery. His recovery meant that he could not do his job for several weeks. He had did not have disability insurance so my mom and I decided to do the job until he had fully recovered. I had always admired my step dad and wanted to be like him, so I was eager to help out and it made me feel important. This was the first time in my life that I realized a reward for hard work does not necessarily come in the form of financial gain, but rather, in the form of the pride one gets for a job well done.

My family didn’t have a lot of money, but we had everything we needed. My parents always made sure I was aware that even though we didn’t have a lot, there were people in the world who had less. Around the holidays there was a charity in town called Operation Rudolph. This charity collected toys for underprivileged kids. Every year, I wanted to open gifts early and one year my mom made me a deal. She said that I could open one present early if I donated that present to the kids at Operation Rudolph. My mom explained that without the generosity of others, some kids would not have any presents to open on Christmas morning. It is then that I learned the value of sharing, and I learned how good it feels to help people in need; as a result of this event, a tradition started in my family.

My parents taught me many life lessons and values that I have carried on through my life like the gifts they truly are. Living my life according to my parents’ example will not only enable me to share these values with others, but will also ensure my parents will always be with me, no matter where I am or where they are.