Just about everyone knows the book “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. I actually did not read this book until I was in my 20s; had I read it sooner, I might have avoided all that math I took in high school.
I was visiting my oldest daughter this past week. She attends Georgia Southern University and I was working in Statesboro, so I asked her if she would not mind some company for a night. I thought of what my parents would find if they had ever decided to stay in the apartment I had when I was in college. “Yikes” was the first word that came to mind.
My parents taught me a lot while I was growing up. My father taught me how to work hard and be the best at whatever I did. He helped me learn how important it was to go to church and make a nice bow on my ties. He taught me to shave, and drive, and pray. Sometimes, we prayed while I was driving.
My dad taught me the value of money and how saving pennies added up in a year’s time. I still hunt for the cheapest gas in town. Dad showed me how to run a business with my first newspaper route — and how important the phrase “The customer is always right” is. He taught me how to grow a vegetable garden, hunt, camp and cook breakfast on an open fire without any pans. My father was a sort of the 1960s version of “MacGyver.”
My mom taught me a lot about taking care of myself. She helped me learn how to sew, how to take care of a cut or scrape, and how to do laundry and iron my clothes. She taught me how to shop as well as cook in the oven. Mom taught me the value of dressing nice and taking a jacket in case it was cold. Good hygiene was important to Mom, and I learned that, too.
Mom also taught me how to sing and dance, grow plants and even arrange flowers. I won my first blue ribbon at the Hometown Garden Club when I was 9 years old. This past week, the Richmond Hill Garden Club recognized my mom for 50 years of service and membership in Garden Club. Wow!
As I pulled into the parking lot of my daughter’s apartment complex, I wondered if I had helped her enough to learn the important things in life. Many questions entered my mind. Is she responsible at work, and is she taking time to study? What would her apartment look like on the inside? Is she eating right, exercising and making good choices about friends? If you’ve ever had a child leave the house, then you know all the questions that can run through your mind.
I am happy to report that my stay was great, and her apartment was clean. She looked healthy, and her clothes were pressed and hung on hangers. Her boss reports that she is a wonderful addition to the organization (she also has a part-time job, praise the Lord) … and I just received a text that she scored a 92 on her project that she worked on all night during my stay. Oh, her friends are very cool too.
I’m calling my wife now to tell her I think we did OK.
DeLong is the executive director for The Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com