Remember the old movie, “The Crying Game”, where one of the lead characters passes as a different gender until the big reveal toward the end of the movie? The audience was admonished to not give away the secret so it wasn’t ruined for those who hadn’t seen the film yet. That came to mind when I first saw this prompt. Then I dug a bit deeper and understood it was really about whom we took as role models to emulate in our own lives.
I don’t have one person, though certainly my father was formative – his sunny personality, his love of family, his ability to make and keep life-long friendships, even while making new friends everywhere he went, his genuine interest in community service work and the betterment of those around him. Those were all traits I deeply admired and chose to emulate.
Conversely, I knew I wanted to avoid being like my mother in the way she parented. She was stingy with praise; a nervous cook, so wouldn’t let me into her kitchen. She was anxious around babies, her own and others, so even when visiting after my children were born, wouldn’t help at all, nor could she give any parenting advice. She was afraid to handle babies.
Yet she did know and love the arts, which are central to my life and she taught me about those. She also taught me good manners, a lost art these days, but I still feel it is important and will get one gracefully through many difficult situations. So in some ways, I did follow her lead.
My cousin Sissi taught me about self-resilience, generosity of spirit, work ethic, but also, love of family and taking care of oneself.
From my favorite camp teachers, Dude Stephenson and Mel Larimer, I learned discipline and hard work, but to always make it fun. We WANTED to work hard, so we would produce a great product. They were both marvelous teachers as well as friends (as we campers grew into adulthood). And the friends I made at camp sustain me even today. I love and honor the teachers’ memories, converse with my wise and wonderful camp friends around the country on a constant (in some cases, daily) basis. Their accumulated wisdom, talent and goodness guide me. As do my two best high school friends and a few Brandeis friends – friendships of a lifetime. Nothing can be better.
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.
Thanx Betsy for sharing how you gained from emulating the best in so many who you’ve known and admired.
And what a good lesson – everyone we meet has some good to share, and indeed we should take the best!
I’m not sure EVERYONE we meet has some good to share (I can think of a host of people in this country right now who are trying to bring down our democratic norms, or take away a woman’s right to control her own body, for example), but many do, and we can be sponges and absorb that good. Then we can truly better ourselves.
Yes Betsy, unfortunately, you’re right.
I guess I meant everyone in one’s own circle – but of course even there one may discover others whose politics is troublesome!
True, Dana. We are a nation horribly divided at the moment, unfortunately.
This is a lovely tribute to the positive things you have learned from others in your life. Gratitude and appreciation are so valuable, even when it is hard to do (see above discussion about political divisions)–indeed, sometimes they are what make it possible to carry on. You have much richness in your life.
Thank you, Khati. I agree that I have been blessed with wonderful role models and friendships from whom I take as much as I give back. Gratitude is great blessing and we need to embrace it.
I love your stories. I read them and am amazed at your life. Your dad was definitely a figure to model, and yet your mom’s love of the arts led you to such a rich, meaningful, and fulfilling past. A past that continues today.
Thank you, Patty. You will learn more about my parents in the “divorce” prompt.