Year-End Reflections: Mom and Dad Were Right!

By: Samantha MacDonald, Online Parent Engagement Coordinator

Last week, ParentFurther Editor, Jennifer, shared her big lesson of 2011 on the ParentFurther blog. This week, our Online Parent Engagement Coordinator, Sam, shares her own life lessons with us. Read Samantha’s life-changing lessons of 2011 now! >

2011 was a year that held a lot of changes for me. In fact, the last 12 months have seen a complete shift in my life, both personal and professional. I even live in a different time zone than the one I started the year in!

Dealing with that level of transition, whatever the reason, can be incredibly difficult. Upon reflection, I realize that the qualities that brought me through all the change are things I learned from watching my parents.

Resiliency: As a child, I saw my mother battle cancer and my father lose his best friend in a tragic accident. I could sense their sadness then, and when I look back now, I realize how strong they were during those difficult times. From their experiences, I learned to honor feelings of grief and loss, but I also learned how to continue to grow and thrive following a life-changing event.

Patience: Anyone who parents can speak to the importance of patience, but
demonstrating patience well is a whole different story. Whether it was listening to
the same poorly-played rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” 10 times in a row as I
practiced the piano or sitting through hour-long Christmas programs put on entirely by
my brother and I in our living room, my parents showed immense patience when it came
to supporting their children. That same patience came in handy for me during an arduous
job hunt and apartment search (although I think I would have preferred sitting through the
Christmas programs).

Gratitude: My parents were never the type to make my brother and I sit down and write thank you notes for every Christmas or birthday gift we received, but they did
demonstrate that showing your thanks for what you are given is best done by sharing it
with others. My mother and her lifelong commitment to volunteerism taught me to give
of my time whenever possible, and my father’s generosity inspired me to donate to as many
causes as possible, even when money is tight.

Love: Above all else, I always knew that I was incredibly loved. They may have shown it in that understated, Midwestern way, but I never doubted—not even when I was in
trouble—that my parents loved me. Knowing how to show love to others, especially when
it’s difficult, has helped me through this year and will be something I continue to do
throughout my entire life.

Without even realizing it, the example my parents showed me in my childhood got me through 2011, not only in one piece, but a better person because of it.

Thanks, mom and dad.

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I’m counting the days, weeks, and years until my daughter (13) will write a love letter like the one Samantha wrote in this blog. What a wonderful tribute to her parents and to her for taking to heart all of her life lessons. It also reminds me that we all need time to reflect on our life (weather it’s just a reflect of a day, week or year). Giving ourselves the opportunity to reflect and be grateful for the wonderful things in our lives is what allows us to grow.

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