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father comforting adult daughterRachel Allison

It has been over nine years since my father passed away. Over the past couple of days I have been thinking of him a lot.

My Dad was a man of few words, but life’s lessons had given him a wisdom that enriched each of our lives. When he spoke, “we listened.”

My youngest sister tells of an endearing experience she had with Dad. She had been having some very discouraging setbacks in life. One morning she received a phone call from him. The first thing she heard after she picked up the receiver was dad singing, “I just called to say I love you. I just called to say how much I care,” (“I Just Called to Say I Love you” by Stevie Wonder.) My sister started to cry, but the ensuing conversation comforted and gave her hope and courage to tackle the future.

I have been surprised in recent years to hear friends admit that now that their adult children are out of the house, “they’re on their own.” In other words, these mothers and fathers with years of wisdom have chosen to let their children make mistakes without a word of advise. I am so much better because my parents stayed involved. Granted, they lived six hundred miles away, so it’s not as if they were at my door every day, but they were always just a phone call away and they always took the time to offer advise when I needed it.

The advice I specifically remember came at a time when I was a newlywed.   Looking back I see a very immature (dare I admit even spoiled?) young woman who called her parents often to express her frustrations with her new husband. My parents would always listen, but our conversations always ended with my mom and dad telling me how much they loved and appreciated my husband. They NEVER EVER badmouthed him. As the months and years passed, my tirades subsided, but when I did need to vent, my parent’s positive expressions were always a reminder of just why I married my husband.

Now that I have three adult married children I am determined to be as good a listener and advisor. I try to NEVER EVER badmouth my son-in-law or daughters-in-law. The few times my children have called with relationship issues I listen and I give them advice as to how THEY could make the situation better. We learn from an accumulation of generations of wisdom. And when the wisdom is shared each generation tends to get better and better.


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