Today we finish the stories I spoke of at the Washington DC meeting of the Irish and American Paediatric Society. Here you will see how these stories illustrate some of the proverbs so important to good parenting. Enjoy!
My final case is a young man who summed up good parenting in four words.
We were discussing his family history when he said, “I’ve got the best dad in the whole world. I’ve always tried to be just like him.”
This from a 17 year old boy!
He lifted the sleeve of his T-shirt and pointed to a tattoo on his biceps. Like Father, Like Son. And said, “Dad has one just like it!”
This father/son dyad lived a tattoo they shared, “Like father, like son.”
Dad was the man he wanted is son to become!
I see 10 -15 young men every work day, and each day I see at least one with the same story as Joe, Nat, and Mike.
Last Wednesday I saw 14 boys/men, 3 of them just like those described above: Kids born to single mothers; kids whose “sperm donor” walked; kids whose parents go in and out of jail and leave the kids to foster homes; kids who are abused and hungry.
I also see lots of kids who come from divorced or separated parents some do well, others don’t. I see a few who come from “old fashioned” parents who are still married to each other.
But, the group of kids I love most are those who have survived in spite of all the misfortune they have had in their lives.
I’m not worried about the future of our great country, or the world, because the next greatest generation is just now putting on their uniforms.
Before I sit down, let me refresh the proverbs illustrate in these stories:
- A man is only as good as his word. Trust your kids!
- All love is tough love. Actions speak louder than words.
- “The child is the father of the man!”
- “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home”.
- Forgiveness is the basis of mankind.
- Be the person you want your kids to become. Like father, like son.
Does parenting matter? You decide!
I didn’t have time in D.C. to use the short tribute to country singer Jimmy Wayne which follows. I think you will love to hear his story and enjoy his book. Read on:
One more thing, Jimmy Wayne is a well-known, successful county singer with much the same history as most of the men above. Finding a way to help kids who age out of foster care became his lives ambition.
When he became successful he put on his walking shoes and walked from Nashville to Phoenix, Arizona, half-way across the US. “Meet me half-way”, was his cry, as he attempted to increase awareness of foster kids needs as they age out.
Because of Jimmy Wayne efforts, California extended foster care to age 21. Tennessee and North Carolina followed with programs designed to help these kids transition to successful adults.
Wayne’s statistics indicate that every kid who ages out without help will eventually cost the state over $300,000. If money were the only reason, and it’s not, it would still makes sense to work with legislators in other states to develop similar programs and some other states have.
You can read Jimmy Wayne’s story in his book, “Walk to Beautiful”. It’s delightful, inspiring and easy to read.
Thank you all for reading. If you think it was worth your effort, please send it on to others who you like a good story and to others who might need a little push to be the best parents they can be.