Where do I begin? As I often counsel others, first things first.
First, my parents and sister.
They created a loving and safe environment where we could challenge with respect, yearn for knowledge, enjoy what we do, and above all, to love one another without judging. I have tried to live up to these values, but often wonder what path my life would you taken if I exhibited these values more consistently.
Second, my family.
The many lessons are too numerous to relate here. I’ll share one experience that has stayed with me throughout my life. When our eldest Son, Randy, was 7 years old, I was strongly admonishing him for some now forgotten act he had allegedly committed. He looked up to me, I was taller than he at that time, and said, “Dad, you can’t live my life for me.” This is one lesson, I can honestly say, I not only learned but have practiced. Counsel only goes to those who ask or indicate a willingness to see another point of view.
Third, my many personal friends over the years.
Moving almost 30 times has made it challenging to keep up with them. Fortunately, Facebook and other social media have made it possible to stay in touch. I’m thankful for the occasional ‘Like” and/or comment I receive and pleased to add my own “Likes” and comments to theirs. Frequent physical travel is somewhat difficult, so I’m grateful for the communication opportunities technology offers us.
Fourth, my business and volunteer organization associates.
They provided me with opportunities to grow as a human being. Many became person friends. It wasn’t attractive at times, but it was instructive. I was blessed to work with some of the most talented and productive team members in both business and volunteer settings. I trust, in some small way, we were able to enhance the lives of the team members and those affected by the decisions and actions of the teams.
Fifth, my talented spouse (the last should be first).
Words can’t express my gratitude for the 24 years Mervyn has been my best friend and partner. She quietly offers me encouragement and constructive feedback. If it weren’t for her I doubt I would have fully recovered from my strokes and be writing this today. She has always been a strong helpmate during the good and bad times. Fortunately, not too many bad ones. I’m extremely happy she, somewhat reluctantly at first, allowed me into her life. She shows me what it means to be loving, empathetic, and compassionate at all times. I’m still trying to emulate her.
Thanks to all of you for helping me deal with this fantastic experience called life. I’m grateful to all of you who read this blog and offer your suggestions on improvement. Please keep it up. I need you.