Archive for February, 2010

Is it all about “focusing on what we give”?

February 14, 2010

The older I get, the more I understand that, yes, it is.  When I think back on my younger days I realize that I wasn’t a giver.  There, it’s out there.  I can recall with a certain amount of disappointment, and yes, even regret, times when I thought it was all about me.  A certain amount of immaturity can always factor into a young lad’s deeds, but there comes a time when a person reaches an age when his actions shouldn’t cause people to think or say “Yes, but he’s only ___ years old.  He’ll grow up one day.”

And while I’ve always (well, almost always!) been considered well-mannered – my parents would give me and/or my siblings the just-you-wait-til-we-get-you-home stare of doom if our behavior didn’t meet their tough-but-fair standards – I can picture many times when I didn’t always think about doing things to help others.

Of course there were frequent reminders to do so.  My parents constantly were on me about cleaning up my bedroom.  And rightfully so.  They wanted to instill in me self-discipline and help me recognize that “No one wants to live in a pig sty.”  Especially not the other people in our family.  And that is one skill that, thankfully, I’ve mastered.  Now cleaning my home office is another discussion altogether.  One which my wife doesn’t enjoy having with me, but sometimes has to.  And I’m working on that, sweetie!

But being a giver is also accomplished by leading by example.  I’m extremely lucky that my parents are still alive and still married to each other.  That’s an example of enduring tough times and making things work out, not giving up and saying “The hell with it.”  ALL marriages lasting nearly 50 years have endured difficult stretches, and it takes a great deal of giving to make a relationship last that long.

I can recall times when I’ve handled situations by thinking “How would Dad deal with this?” or “Mom would do it this way.”  I haven’t lived in the same area code as my parents since I was 18 years old.  They currently live a nine-hour drive from my home.  But despite the distance I know that I still look to them for examples of how to live life.  What a great thing to give your children.

I’m an original member of the Tristate Business Network in Greater Cincinnati.  TBN’s mantra is “Focus on what you give”.  That light bulb has thankfully lit itself in my brain.  It’s taken a little longer than it should have, but I’m seeing how it makes sense now.  If nothing else, I’m consciously trying to set examples for my teenaged daughter to follow.  I’m hoping she, and others, will see the light too.