How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.
George Washington Carver
As my guys started experiencing the world of work and college without the presence of their mom, it encouraged me to know that they had developed their own spirit of encouragement. Roommates, work supervisors and friends inevitably got to the point that warranted an introduction. Once you are an advocate for one of my guys, you naturally become a part of this extended family.
The unexpected by-product of this was when my guys started to realize that our story was a little more unusual than most people’s life stories. The look of amazement as they would share just the fact that they were one of three sons raised by a little women who is just 61 inches high (I added that part tee hee), but loved, supported and encouraged them with everything she had. I can’t tell you the number of times that they said “Mom, so and so wants to meet you.” I have to take you to see (my work supervisor, my co-workers). When my oldest was working on his master’s degree, he had finished an internship with a firm who’d offered him a position once he completed his master’s. That December they invited him to their Christmas party and he invited me to come to go with him. Without fail, everyone he introduced me to said how much they enjoyed working with him.
I tried my best to instill in my sons the things parents are responsible for teaching their children: good work ethic, respect, dressing professionally, being pleasant, knowing how to start a conversation with someone you are meeting for the first time, shaking hands firmly, speaking with confidence (one on one and in front of an audience) and the importance of direct eye contact. Arming your children with these skills, and the experience of playing sports, along with mastering a rigorous classroom schedule gives them a sense of confidence that is palatable. I also challenged them with graduating at the top of their high school class - 4.0 G.P.A.and in the top 5% of their class.
My youngest had the opportunity to go with me to a Junior Achievement appreciation for their volunteers. I had the pleasure of volunteering at my sons’ former middle school for a 6 week project when my sons were in college. (Your responsibilities don’t end when your student is promoted to the next school. If you can be beneficial, your time and energy will be welcomed.) During the conversations, the director told my youngest that your mom must be so proud of the three of you, making your way through college. My youngest then replied, “Actually, I am proud of my mom.” I managed to hold it together, but it was a very touching moment.
Another thing I am so proud of is that whenever I visited the guys on campus, I always got the opportunity to be introduced to the food and cleaning staff. We were on campus with my middle son for a quick day trip. I met all of the wonderful coworkers where he worked in-between classes, but before we left he said "Mom, there is one more place we have to stop." Down the hall and around the corner were the ladies whose responsibility it is to keep that building clean and inviting. You don’t realize how important this is until the building is not presentable. He introduced each lady by their name. Mom this is Ms. “Name” and this is Ms. “Name”. What a proud moment for me. Not only did he know their names, but they knew his. You just don’t know if your children are listening to you when you tell them to treat everyone with respect. I also told my sons that befriending the cleaning staff can be beneficial…beside being the right thing to do. When we were on campus for graduation festivities, my oldest introduced me to the food service staff by name. These were the people who had held a meal or a piece of fruit for him when he was late getting to the cafeteria because of a late practice or long hours studying.
My youngest volunteered at a senior center close to campus. We stopped there to say hello to the director. The senior bus was loaded and ready to pull out so I wasn’t able to speak to them. The director was kind enough to say she didn’t mind him graduating, but was dubious about him going to Thailand. It was said from a very caring place. She was sad to see him go but enjoyed the time he'd volunteered with the seniors.
We are long time customers of Cobb Galleria Automotive. As the fellas started driving, they would take their own cars for service. The manager took notice of their manners and made note of it when I came in. One day, he must have been sharing this with one of his customers. He didn't know that his customer was also my neighbor. After talking for a while my neighbor realized that the manager was talking about my 3 sons. (This is the same neighbor who taught each of my guys how to change a flat tire, so they are also he and his wife's 3 sons.) My neighbor brings that up from time to time, stating how proud he is of them too. It is a good feeling to know that your prayers for your children are being answered!
Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.