Thursday, November 10, 2011

When it's in Your Power, Just Do It

My parents are pretty smart. (Now you all know how old I am.)

Seriously though, my parents had my older brother and me when they were babies. Literally. My mom was 20 when my brother was born, and then three years later, here came me.

They were married of course. That was just what you did back in 1960s small-town Mississippi. You married your high school sweetheart. Lucky for them, they were right. They're still married after all this time.

But that's not my point.

My dad told me once about some men he worked with who didn't believe in helping their kids financially.

My dad worked for Exxon in Baton Rouge, so we were somewhat upper-middle-class. My brother and I both had nice cars in high school, but my mom also taught. It was a dual-income situation.

Dad's short-bed was a gold Chevy.
Anyway, dad told me he knew there was wisdom in that. Bootstraps and all.

But he also liked to tell how he and my mom moved from Liberty, Miss., with everything they owned in the back of a pickup truck.

A short-bed pickup truck.

My brother was two, I wasn't born yet, and my dad's point was that if his parents had been able to give them a little help at that time, it would've been far more meaningful than $100,000 now, when he's established, has a home, etc.

It's the timing of the thing, Dad said.

My parents also believed in reading the Bible to my brother and me every single morning. Most mornings, Mom would just read a chapter from the Proverbs.

My brother and I still laugh to this day how those darned verses are so lodged in our brains, one'll just pop out at any time. If I've been out late (or didn't sleep well), I often think of this one:

"He that (greets) his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him." (Prov. 27:14)

For the sake of this post, however, there's one that goes like this:

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them. Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow'--when you now have it with you. (Prov. 3:27-28)

Most everybody wants to give back and help others, but it's hard when we're so distracted by life, job worries, writing, kids, you name it.

But there are many ways to help and "do good." I've been thinking about what all I see if I just slow down and look around me. Little things. They make such a difference.

Have a great week-end, reader- and writer-friends! You guys always do me a world of good. Til Monday~ <3

32 comments:

KarenG said...

Thanks for this post, Leigh. It warms my heart and starts my day with a smile :) What wisdom in these words. And I'm going to remember the Proverbs verse about giving help now, when you can, and when the moment arises.

Clarissa Draper said...

Super advice! It's difficult to know how much or when to give to your children. I grew up in a middle class family but my parents didn't buy us whatever we wanted. My children are growing up in a similar situation but we do have the money to buy them whatever they want (of course, within reason) and so I debate a lot about how much and when. We want them to learn responsibility too.

Jessica Bell said...

People really do underestimate the small stuff. Lovely post, Leigh :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Those are two great verses! We rarely use loud voices. Especially in the morning. Now I'm off to do something good for a lot of people today.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm glad you can look back on your childhood kindly.

My dad and my husband's parents have always been supportive. They helped us through college and help our kids from time to time. That's how we want to be for our own children.

Pat Hatt said...

What if my cat uses loud voices to wake me up, does that count?..haha

Agree it's much better to have a little help when you need it than $100,000 when you don't. Although I still wouldn't be opposed to $100,000 haha.

Old Kitty said...

Little things put together make big things! And timing too is everything. I know of so many instances with family and friends where help needed then when offered now just doesn't have the same resonance.

Take care
x

Matthew MacNish said...

And money is not the only way to give, which is nice, because I have very little of it.

walk2write said...

Greed and corruption are featured on the news all the time, but it's seldom we hear something inspiring like your childhood memories of hard-working parents and their disciplined faith. It might be true that without the hard work (necessary because of little money), the discipline would have come up short.

I think every parent struggles with this dilemma. I know my parents did and I do too. You want your kids to succeed, and you can't help but lift them up and dust them off when they don't.

Unfortunately, there aren't too many princes wanting to trade places with paupers these days. If there were, I'd be busy searching for my rich twin:)

DEZMOND said...

Wish I had your parents :) I didn't get anything from mine, and I even had to learn everything myself - reading, brashing teeth, eating, cooking, all by myself and I even had to put myself through college on my own :(

Laurel Garver said...

You just reminded me how happy it made me to see a neighbor picking up trash in the neighborhood while walking his dog. His small act makes the place nicer for everyone.

Kelly Polark said...

It sounds like you have a strong family upbringing, Leigh!

It's important to help others, whether it's family or strangers.
I do believe some parents enable their children, but I'm sure it's hard to decide how much help is too much.

DL Hammons said...

Sometimes just letting your kids know there's an invisible safety net if its ever needed, is enough. :) Insightful post!

Tracy Jo said...

Beautiful post Leigh. Our parents sound a lot alike. Dad tells me the same story of packing everything in their Rambler and moving out west to Klamath Falls. You are so right about the simple things. Your comments on my blog are a way of giving...because it has made a difference in my life. Sometimes the smallest gestures have the biggest impact. Thank you and have a wonderful day!!

Joshua said...

My parents were high school sweethearts and are still married today. It's nice to see.

lbdiamond said...

Lovely post!

Carol Riggs said...

Great point! (And LOL about Proverbs 27:14, waking someone up with a loud voice.) Yep, people sure got married young in those days. My mom married at 18, had my brother at 19, and me at 20. Whew!

Tracy said...

yes, it is the little things Leigh...I often need to be reminded of that but doesn't it just make life easier at times when we do?
great post...

Julie Musil said...

This post warmed my heart. My parents didn't have a lot of money, but they gave us a lot of love and attention. I remembered my mom working long hours so she could buy us our class rings and yearbooks during our senior year. I knew it was a sacrifice for her, and she was happy to do it and never complained a bit. It truly is the little things that matter. I'll bet our parents would have been friends had we lived near each other :D

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love this! And I wish I was cool enough to read proverbs to my kids in the morning! :)

Monica B.W. said...

Totally! Little things make the difference!
I loved to learn a bit more about you and your family, Leigh! Thanks for sharing.
AND LOL, then *I* was a baby too when I had my first son! I got pregnant when I was 20! :D

Vicki Rocho said...

I live for the little things ... which, if you think about it are really BIG things in disguise.

Laura Pauling said...

Now I know why my son's loud voice bothers me in the morning. That Proverb is so true! As most of them are. :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

So many great lessons in this post. Thanks for the reminders and insights. I see nothing wrong with helping your kids, as long as you also teach them the value of working hard and earning what you receive. My parents didn't give me anything -- they couldn't with four younger mouths to feed and self-inflicted debt -- and I've always carried a small amount of resentment for it. I have tons of character, though. Hooray for silver linings, lol!

Creepy Query Girl said...

I agree- and love the fact that your parents read you proverbs at breakfast! What a great idea!

LTM said...

@LBD--thanks, girl! :o)

@Monica--Baby girl! No, on the other hand, look how young you are now that they're getting bigger. Thanks, and ((hugs)) <3

@Laura--LOL! That literally popped in my head one a.m. when I was so tired and the girls' voices were so shrill... :D You're right! <3

Ella said...

Your family reminds me of mine, except no proverbs at bkfst. My Mom was a Sunday school teacher and I saw in the choir. My father attempted church. He was more into having guitar parties that disturbed the peace/(some old biddy down the road called the police every time!)
Yin n' yang views, ;D

Liz Fichera said...

It's the little things that have the biggest impact. Wonderful post!

LTM said...

@Liz--Right! And eventually those little things build up to a big thing! Thanks, girl~ :o)

Ginger said...

Just had to comment Leigh..
First off I think your dad is a gem.
Second, I never knew about them bible verses. The first one about 'loud voice' made me lol.
Thanks for sharing.

Great and inspiring post

LTM said...

@Ginger--Yay! Thanks, he really is. And yep, those verses are too funny. I always imagine Proverbs being very formal and serious, but then you read something like that... *snort* :D <3

Susanne Drazic said...

Wonderful post. Sounds like you had great, loving parents.