Teach a child in the way that is right, and in their old age, they will remember it.
Or something like that.
If I had a nickel for every time my Mom said that to me, I could retire today and never work again.
Yesterday, Rob and stepped in to help a friend take care of business after her live in caretaker attempted suicide. Part of that business was moving his 22 year old boyfriend out. The kid was an innocent, caught up in a web of lies. Rob took care of most of the legal stuff, and I stepped in for the rest.
At some point, I found the 22 year old crying on the sofa. What I did was pure instinct. I pulled out my handkerchief, because yes, gentlemen do still carry handkerchiefs and handed it to him and sat next to him on the sofa with my arm around his shoulders. I didn't look at him. I just held him in a gesture that was as intimate as it was non-sexual. And, I thought about myself, because there's really nothing else to do while you hold a crying stranger. And, I realized that what I had done was exactly what my Dad would have done. I invaded the kids space with caring. And, I could do that, even though I'd only met him that day because that was what was in me to give to a person in need. And, as he cried, I let my deep calming dad voice say calming platitudes, like "it will get better" and "you won't have to worry about making this mistake again", and "no matter what, you have to take care of yourself first". And, when he looked at me and said "I can't believe he did this to me" I replied that he didn't do this to you. He just did what he always does, and you happened to be there. And, worthless as it all sounds, it seemed to help. And, then his parents came to get him. (Rob facilitated that happy ending)
I was so glad that I was influenced by such a good man as my Dad, who showed me how to be compassionate and caring in a strong and quiet way. Everyone should have an influence like that.
What I did next would make my Mom and Grandmother proud. I cleaned. I scrubbed and washed and cleaned and changed beds. Another friend came and they went through several months of mail, then we remade the beds and washed the dishes and went to our own homes. Because that's what people do when someone is in need. It's the most basic of things I can offer to a friend. And, I can offer it because I saw the women in my family offer it to one another, and their friends who were in need.
So, there you go. Both my Mom and my Dad will be proud that they had a good influence on me as a child, and that I remember that as an old man. I guess my Mom's prediction came true.
And, when I dragged my weary ass in last night, Sydney came out to hug me. And, I knew that even though she wasn't there to see it, Rob and I had just passed that influence on to another generation.
And, what could possibly make my parents more proud?
And, it makes the effort worth it.
Everybody have a great Friday. I'm going to be taking it slow. Basking in the good feelings. Because that's the reward of doing good; a relief from the stresses of everyday life. My mind gives me a respite to enjoy what I've done and to rest, preparing for the next person who crosses my path and has a need.