The greatest parents I know are quite simply, my own, and they are simple people. Simple, honest and kind, with a gentle spirit that is rare in this day and age. Born and raised in the coal-mining area of Virginia, they both came from poor families. My paternal grandfather died when a rock fell on him in a coalmine. He had just ordered his own coal truck, which would have eventually made him quite well off. My mother was three when he died, and she can still remember men coming to the house, and her mother collapsing in the yard at the news. My grandmother had to cancel the order for the truck after she buried my grandfather, and then raise seven children on her own, with no skills to speak of. She took in laundry and boarders and did odd jobs, and although they were poor, the children were well cared for and raised to be very intelligent, independent thinkers. And each of those children grew up to be incredible parents. My aunts and my uncle had a close relationship with their children that you don't often see. My mother is so amazing, she's truly a saint on earth. In my 47 years, I've yet to meet a more selfless, giving, openhearted person. She's never envied anyone anything, but wished them well, despite her own lack. The jealousy, envy, and selfishness that the rest of us struggle with at some point in our lives is alien to her. It's simply not there. I could attain even half of her character, I would consider myself lucky indeed.
My father grew up in the same town. His parents were also poor; his father absent most of his life, and his mother, like my maternal grandmother, had to work hard to keep the family together. My father wasn't an educated man, but he possessed a wisdom you will find in few scholars. He worked as a carpenter and whatever jobs he could find. However, in a poor area, the work was sporadic and didn't bring in much money. So we had to scrimp. Now, you've never seen two people more frugal than my parents. They don't waste anything. If my father has an inch of milk left in his glass, it goes in the refriderator for the next meal. If there's a bite of food left, it's saved. My parents managed the little they had so well, no one on the outside knew how hard we had it. They weren't able to give us much monitarily, but they gave us something far more valuable. A sense of those values by which they lived themselves. We learned to respect others and never be unkind. To be understanding and compassionate.
So it wasn't one example of great parenting, but a lifetime of examples and love that showed my brother and me where the true value lay.I wish there had been more money, not for me, but for them, but what they instilled in us was priceless.
Causes anita clenney Supports
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital