It was 76 years ago today, December 3, 1938, that R.C. Merritt (1912-2001) and Mildred Mabe (1917-1999) were joined together in holy matrimony. They were my parents. In 1952 I was the second child born into their home. They were married 61 years before death interrupted their union. If they were living they would be celebrating their seventy-sixth wedding anniversary today. Though both of my parents have gone on to their reward, the many lessons and truths they taught me live on in my everyday life. As I contemplate today on what would have been their anniversary, I would like to share a few of the many lessons and truths they sought to instill in me that have helped shape who I am today.
My parents taught me if I wanted something I had to earn it and to not expect someone else just handing it to me. Such sage advice goes against the entitlement mentality that pervades society today that has the attitude, “You earned it, but I deserve it.” Their wise counsel has caused me to take thankful pride in what I have accomplished and to respect what others have worked to achieve.
My parents taught me to be truthful and honest when dealing with others. If you are not truthful it will come back to haunt you because you have to remember what you said; and, worse, you will lose the respect of others.
My parents taught me to be thankful for whatever was on my plate when I sat down to eat. Even today when I have set before something I don’t really care about eating, I can still hear their voices echoing in my ears about how lucky I am to have something to eat and that there are those who have no food at all.
My parents taught me to seek not to be selfish because the world doesn’t revolve around me. When we think of others we are happier than when we only think of ourselves.
My parents taught me to respectfully stand when the National Anthem was being played. I am to show respect and admiration for the flag and what it stands for. People died that the flag might fly, and I am to honor her. To this day I still get chills every time I hear sung the National Anthem.
My parents taught me not to be part of the crowd just to be a part of them, but to stand on my convictions even if it meant to stand alone. As a minister I am thankful that lesson was instilled in me, because there are times when standing for the truth I may stand alone.
My parents taught me to be courteous and polite to others if I expect them to be courteous and polite to me. To say “Please” and “Thank You” are words you can’t use too much.
My parents taught me to do right because it is the right thing to do. You don’t do right just when someone is watching or because you “feel” like it, you do right because that is what you are suppose to do.
My parents taught me not to give-up when undertaking a task. If I failed I was told to regroup and keep trying until I succeeded. If you want something out of life it must be fought and worked for.
My parents taught me to watch the company I keep because who I hung around would shape who I became. That was good advice when I went off to college in the hippie era and drugs and alcohol were easily accessible.
My parents taught me to respect others even if I didn’t agree with them, and if I couldn’t to turn and walk away. I have done my best to do that, and, yes, there have been many times I have had to walk away!
My parents taught me not to spend more than I make. Always save at least a dime out of every dollar. Don’t become a slave to debt by buying things you can’t afford. That has been common-sense advice I am glad I have heeded through the years. The government should heed my parent’s advice!!
My parents taught me to vote. They never told me how to vote, but to intelligently examine each candidate and make a wise decision based upon my moral and biblical convictions. I can still hear them say, “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain.”
My parents taught me the value of a healthy sense of humor. While life should be taken seriously, the seriousness of life should never silence the music of laughter. “A merry heart does good like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Such practical advice has kept me sane through the years.
My parents taught me that if I have problems there is a Higher Power available to help give me strength and help me through life. The quite faith they demonstrated spoke loudly that the Lord’s strength is available to all if they simply ask Him.
Yes, my parents taught me many valuable lessons and truths. While I am still trying to incorporate them all into my life, I am most thankful I had parents who sought to instill them in me. While my parents were not perfect, as no parents are, I was blessed to have wise parents for which I will ever be grateful.