Are your parents still alive?
Do you see them much because you live close to them?
Or are you NOT in the group of half of us in this country that live with in fifty miles of where we grew up?
Some people have parents they don’t enjoy or connect with regularly.
A few are resentful, blame their parents and folks around themselves for any unpleasantness, unhappiness. All that is wrong in their life with sometimes too high of expectations of others, too low of themselves.
But I fall in to the group that are grateful, appreciative for my parents who are now deceased from this Earth. Were they perfect, heck no. Neither are you or I. But being respectful for the parents you had if you were not an orphan or just had bad to the bone parents is important.
Maybe you don’t know where they are, who they were.
Or someone else stepped in to help raise, shape you. Maybe it was the entire Maine village from little league coach, teacher, pastor or extended family members that were by your side. I appreciate my parents even more the older I get because of years being able to add, see their wisdom with sharper 20-20 vision of just how lucky I was.
When you grow up on a Maine farm, run a small family business, you see, spend a lot of time with your parents, siblings.
And during the work, labor you exchange ideas, share and communicate about life, family, hopes, dreams.
Kids learn the value of hard work, develop a greater sense of their place and importance in the family. They feel needed, have worth, are more responsible, more mature and secure with a purpose in their live, the family.
And what you saw, experienced growing up if it was good, healthy means those traditions, habits, rituals shape the way you raise your kids.
Outline the game plan for day to day in the family relationship if you are priviledged, blessed to have kids of your own. And if dysfunctions exist, abuse or neglect happens, then the adult child is going to have to work harder. Really have to think hard about the right way to do it when they did not witness it first hand in their own childhood.
Maine is a neat state to grow up and raise a family, make a living, get community involved. The great outdoors with a lower population and more nature, wildlife can not help but add to the experience of life. We are connected, look after each other when the population is lower in a rural state like Maine. Everything is home grown and nothing is stronger than the heart of a Maine volunteer. That puts his, her all in to an act of kindness, something they believe in strongly. They step up to the plate. All the time. This is there purpose in the community.
Death is not viewed as the end all in Maine either.
In just Houlton Maine alone, a town of about 6700, there are a dozen churches. You can view the abundance of places to worship God in a six by six mile town many ways. That prayer driven good down to Earth people abound. On their way to a better, final place. A real home.
That various, distinct versions of worship exist because not everyone is on the same page on what the right way to do it is. Or that we all are basically doing the same worship process but don’t all get along. See eye to eye.
Maybe because there are specks, logs in them? Or we just have not gotten to a more mature, serious level of worship. And church hopping happens to find the right fit. You should not be comfortable in your worship. Being happy is not as important as being holy either.
Hopefully you can embrace other religions without being threatened with your own.
Take the time to study them all is the best advice right? Don’t judge others, their worship experience. All are wired, plugged in to hopefully sooner than later in life really bottom out, get on their knees and open up their hearts. To cry out, ask for forgiveness of sins, start repentance, reconcilation.
Death can mean the beginning of real living in a better place and our short time on Earth is just a staging area to prepare us for the real event. Where we are reunited with passed on loved ones that departed before us. Death is part of life. Should not be feared and kids should be made to respect it, expect it and not worry about it.
Growing up my family made regular visits to the cemetery.
I did the same thing with my kids. It was not a morbid place or only reserved for graveside services during a burial. We visited not just during a loss, sad times of mourning. And to learn our connection to other family members, to know we are part of something bigger, other generations. And to hear stories about deceased family members to pass on. And for perspective on ourselves. Because history is sometimes your best predictor right?
My kids would ask me what my uncle this, aunt that were like.
I feel bad for folks that are lost, have no family or have cut off the one they had. By not any action of their own or just out of plain necessity. And I remember one time during spring that the wire trash receptacles were full of plastic and silk flowers removed with replacement life flowers added to the graves at Evergreen Cemetery.
My oldest daughter Elizabeth noticed some graves were all decked out, some looked like no one had visited for decades. While the boys and I were studying one family grave, Elizabeth took the better plastic flowers out of the garbage can and used them to spruce up the shabbiest grave, after removing some grass, applying some housekeeping skills.
It hit me as kids know a better sense of justice, fairness, kindness than we adults do.
They don’t want anyone left out. They champion the underdog. We lose that child like honesty, goodness and need them around for reminders of gentle loving ways to treat others.
We become better people teaching them too because they keep us honest.
You can not tell them one thing, and do the other and feel good about it as a parent. Consistency is key. Bible based direction is an absolute to get it right. Have a solid plan.
I am glad my four children, two step children got to know my parents, Nana and Buppy. Kids are better for the time spent with grandparents on all sides of a family. Tap in to yours if they are alive. And especially if they live local. Don’t waste a valuable resource of experiences, wisdom and strive to be closer to family. Embrace them, learn from them.
Maine, simple living for powerful results.