It happened in a matter of seconds, but I never forgot it.
It was a summer evening on a country road in northern lower Michigan. A man who owned his own semi-tractor had parked the big rig in the driveway of their home. He and his little boy were standing there, admiring its size and beauty I suppose. From the street you could see the man walk up to the truck, give the tire a kick, then spit. Moments later, the little boy walked up, gave the tire a kick, then spitted on the ground as well.
It was a reminder to me as a parent that, like it or not, we lead by example.
In the many kind and
loving condolences that we are receiving in the wake of Marcia’s passing, those
people behind bars really get the picture. Typical of the many comments we
receive from incarcerated men and women is this quote to Matt: “I trust,
that the good in you, you learned from your mom to do the kind of work you do."
As our kids were growing
up, they didn’t hear any instructions about being kind to others. They
saw their mother, as a hospice nurse, get up in the middle of the night to be
at the bedside of a dying patient. They didn’t see her sitting in the
church pew with arms folded, grumbling and complaining about what the church
could and should be doing. They saw her, in an official position as an
elder, calling on women with problems that just couldn’t be discussed with a
man. They didn’t hear pious comments about how Jesus loves people of
all colors. They saw her welcome an itinerant black preacher into our
home for a Sunday dinner. They saw her defy the guards and walk up to a
shackled black prisoner and give him a hug.”
It’s no surprise that all four of our offspring are in the people business. Her simple counsel was, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
And so, parents, take a lesson from Marcia: Be careful what tire you kick. Be careful where you spit. Somebody’s watching!
RIP, Sweetie! Te Amo.