Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What I Learned From My Family

Since I’m supposed to be journaling this month about people, specifically family last week and this week, I am going to take a few minutes and write about what my family has taught me throughout my life. I’ve learned from them by hearing their instruction, and by following their example. They’ve all taught me valuable lessons and I can’t possibly cover it all in one night, so I’ll just hit the highlights here.

My Maternal Grandfather, Ken Haines - I learned to love God and to love serving God from him. He was a hard worker for two different churches during his lifetime. He served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, church bus driver, church taxi for missionaries and special speakers, church bus cleaner, and much, much more. He also worked at a Christian Camp during the summer as a carpenter, building things, making repairs, etc. He was very dedicated to this camp and would travel there every summer for years, volunteering his time to make sure they had what they needed to operate their programs. He found such joy in serving God and it was easy to see.

My Maternal Grandmother, Mary Haines - I get my taste for expensive things from her. She once told me as a teenager that young women can go without make-up but they should never leave their house without lipstick. I’ve never forgotten that, and often find myself scrambling for a lipstick when I’m ready to get out of the car, just in case I bump into my grandmother somewhere.

My Paternal Grandfather, Clarence Fair - His name was the first word I ever uttered - “Pop-Pop.” I adored him when I was little. I remember he would take my bean bag dolls and sit on the steps to the second floor, pur the dolls through the banister rails and made them sing and dance like a stage show. My grandfather Fair lost much of his mind due to Alshizmers when I was still a child, so I didn’t have the opportunity to see him with adult eyes. I remember his kindness and gentleness. He was soft spoken and had such a big heart. He married my grandmother and took a great deal of responsibility upon his shoulders as my grandmother had five children and money was tight. He loved her very much and they had a long devoted marriage. I don’t remember them as being overly affectionate or loving, but they enjoyed each other’s company and it was obvious my grandfather loved being around her.

My Paternal Grandmother, Margaret Fair - This is who taught me everything I knew about love as a child. She was my only real source of security growing up and one of the top three influential people in my life. She very warm and affectionate, I always felt safe with her and she made me feel like the most important person in the world. She never complained about me to my parents and always told them I was “just perfect” when I knew good and well that I had not been at all perfect. She sent my brother and I home with “goodie bags” filled with pretzels and cookies whenever we visited her and for many, many reasons, her home was my favorite place to visit. Whenever we came home from town we’d drive right by her house. About two blocks away, my brother and I would start chanting “stop at your mother’s, stop at your mother’s” hoping my dad would drop in and let us visit for awhile. She taught me the meaning of unconditional love and I hope I am half as good at communicating that to those in my life.

My Father, Gene Robinson - My father taught me many lessons in being responsible and working hard. I was somewhat a late bloomer in understanding and applying these lessons, but I see now their importance. He gave me some of the best job advice I’ve ever received - “if you’re not happy at work you have to either change your job or change your attitude.” This lesson has been invaluable and while I’d love to say I changed my job, for the most part, I’ve had to learn to change my attitude. My father is a hard worker and has always been very consistent in his thoughts and ideas. I received my love of baseball from my father, although I am not as big a fan as I once was.

My Mother, Sharon Robinson - I couldn’t possibly write down all the things my mother has taught me. She is my source of continual inspiration and encouragement. She is a reminder to me that God can work in someone’s heart and life to bring about real change and growth. She has constantly yielded to God through the past years and allowed Him to mold her into what He needed her to be. She is a nuturer, an encourager, a motivater and an incredible wealth of knowledge. She is very wise and has great discernment and I’ve learned to listen to her caution and guidance. She is really the most amazing mother anyone could ever have and I am so blessed to have her in my life.

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