Lessons understood… flowers for the living

Posted: March 10, 2011 in Family

I called my parents last night… to thank them. Toya and I were talking about school and how we were to prepare Nariah for school when she comes of age and whether or not we were going to still remember Pythagoras theorem, the molecular makeup of  air, or how to diagram a sentence. Nariah doesn’t have “homework” now in preschool, but we try to be involved in her learning, to at least make it fun and interesting for her. It seems from what we’ve experienced in daycare that the more interest and time parents show, the more the teachers go the extra mile. So how do you do this when you have two working parents with highly demanding jobs which seems to barely give you enough time to fix dinner and ask how was school before its bedtime?

Growing up it seemed like my dad worked 18 jobs, I know that’s not true, but it really seemed like he did. Come to think of it, he was in Grad school or getting a PhD at UNC at the time too. I can’t keep track of it right now, but I just know that he has way too many initials after “Goldman”. I don’t know how he did it because my one job right now is a doozy. But the amazing thing is not that my dad worked multiple jobs and stayed “sane”. It was that those jobs seemed negligent when it came to family time and especially school work. Whenever I would have a question about math or anything, he was excited to help, like a child on Christmas morning. Sometimes I would dread asking for help because he was too excited. And if he was busy, my mom was right in the mix. I vividly remember her helping me put together a working model v6 engine for a science project in early middle school. Who gets help from their mother to put together an auto part? Well this guy right here did, we were both clueless but we got it done, and it’s a memory forever etched into my brain.

Back then, growing up, I would’ve told you I had the pushiest parents and that they’d never let me do anything and that I had nothing. Looking back over the years, as you grow older, you start to see the things they DID for me. They DID let me stay on the basketball team in middle school after getting an E on a report card (my only one in life, I was one scared kid bringing that home) provided I bring up the grade, which I did. All the fancy graphing calculators (everybody remembers when TI-81 came out right?) I had in my possession. But we don’t see that, we see the name brand shoes, the newest Nintendo system, etc… that we didn’t get.

Now that I’m a parent I appreciate so much more what they did and what they went through. I know I was a handful, I’m still a handful. I can’t imagine what its like to have an infant with meningitis in a time period when kids were dying left and right from it. I can’t imagine surviving the meningitis scare (Thank you God for having me reside in the City of Medicine!) to find out a couple years later that your child has lost all hearing in one ear and some of it in the other ear due to that meningitis. I’m sure worrying about how to care for “normal” child is stress enough. But they made it work, speech therapy, hearing aids, everything, they made sure they were there for me every step of the way. They may not have known how rough it may have been for me as kids are pretty cruel, and being a the “hearing aid” kid kinda gets old after a few years, but they were there for me.

I called my parents last night… to thank them. I thanked them for embarrassing me in 2nd/3rd grade. My dad would send me to school with an index card. This index card would have different items on it, I don’t remember everything exactly, but something along the lines of homework completed, what new homework was due, and behavior. I had to have the teacher sign off on this for every session of the day. Talk about embarrassing to stand up in front of class to get this done every day. I’m not a teacher, but in retrospect, I truly believe that teachers help those most who help themselves and those who’s parents are actively involved in their children’s education. These embarrassing steps accomplished two things in my mind; they let me know that my parents were “watching” me, and they let the teacher know that they wanted their child to succeed. Pretty soon that allowed me to change from the “hearing aid kid” to the “hearing aid kid who’s pretty smart” to the “pretty smart goofy kid” (I hid my hearing aid in the mailbox during high school, just couldn’t do it, I had to be “cool”).

I thanked my parents because they did what they knew was best for me. Regardless of how many times I would tell them I hate them, or that they were the worst, they kept at it. I thank them now for giving me the hope, that if I put forth effort like they did with me, take control of my children’s education, then maybe one day Toya and I too can receive a call maybe 30 years from now that tells us “Thank you”. Sometimes parenting’s best lessons are just reflections of your own childhood. Things you hated growing up may actually have been the best thing for you, they may just have to be tweaked with the ever changing times and technology.

As I thanked them, my mom in turn thanked me, “Thank you for giving us our flowers while we are alive”.

  1. Tamara says:

    Beautiful 🙂


  2. Gabrielle says:

    Beautiful Ryan!


  3. Michele says:

    my dad had my teachers sign off on what my homework was too lol


  4. vrgoldman says:

    Thank Tam and Gab!
    Michele, we were singled out! lol


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