I want to dedicate this blog post to my parents. In retrospect, I think I’ve taken for granted having two loving parents. As I’m growing up and learning more about myself, I’m starting to appreciate the lessons and values my parents instilled in me at such an early age.
As a teenager (which wasn’t that long ago), I always saw my parents as these two vindictive villains that barred me from ever having fun. I swore they were purposefully trying to ruin my life.
I’ll never forget when my dad would barge in my room like SWAT every Saturday morning at 8AM—if he’s super energized —7:30AM. I can hear it now—”Get up Trey! We’re going to do some spring cleaning!” (Now mind you, it would be like October or something).
And since my dad was a Marine, there were days when he’ll barge in my room and say “GET UP! GET UP! GET OUT OF THE RACKS NOW!” I can’t emphasize enough...how much I hated when he said that particular line.
I couldn’t be a typical lazy teenager on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It seemed as if sleep was a privilege in the Young household. Sleep was something you had to earn. Sleep was the light at the end of the tunnel.
My dad would make me clean the pool, sweep the walkway, clean the ceiling fans, mow the lawn, (occasionally) clean the attic, and/or clean the baseboards in the house...I didn’t even know that was a thing.
There were many times where I’d rush and do everything so I could go back to bed. But my dad wasn’t having any of it. He would yell my name and ask “Did you finish out front?” I would simply say “Yessir.” Now noticed I italicized the word “Yessir.” If I even dared to simply say “yes” or choose to say something even more heinous and vile--like the word “yeah”....I think I would’ve met my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ a lot earlier than I originally anticipated. But addressing someone as “Sir” or “Ma’am” was a way of showing respect and deference to others.
However, my dad was no fool. He knew I couldn’t pick up sticks, pine cones, sweep the walkway, and rake the whole yard in 4 minutes and 12 seconds flat.
He would just look at me and assign me to do another ridiculous task that no functioning or sane human being does...like clean the baseboards in the house.
And on top of that he would make me go back out front and clean the front the way it should.
When it came to behavior, I my dad disciplined me like no other.
I used to always get into trouble at school (some of the stuff I did were honest mistakes...like how I burnt my 4th grade teacher’s biscuit in the microwave). But there was a point in my life where I would get a spanking daily—or at least it seemed to be daily...Let’s just say if I went a day without getting in trouble it was a moment for rejoice and celebration.
I remember in 7th grade, my dad yanked me off the C-Team because my grades just weren’t cutting it...and he was the coach. He didn’t care “how it would look.” And I really thought he was trying to embarrass me at the time. But in retrospect, I’m glad he did that. He made sure I knew that school was the priority and everything else was secondary. He kept me focused and disciplined.
Now my mom took a different approach. While my dad was forceful and demanding, my mom guilted me into doing things for her. I can hear it all over again, “You know Trey, it’s sad that I don’t have anyone to help me with my garden or someone to wash my car…”
Yeah. I fell for it.
It was hard to say no to her because she is the kind of person that will do anything to help anyone.
My mom showed me what it means to be compassionate and empathetic. As recently as this past Christmas, my mom called me after work and asked, “Trey what are you doing after work? I want you to come with me to deliver gifts at the personal care home.”
Honestly, I didn’t want to go. After work all I want to do is go home, eat, and sleep (remember-sleep is the light at the end of the tunnel). But my mom resorted to her effective tactics once again by saying, “It’s sad that I don’t have anyone to go with Trey...”
I decided to go with her.
We went to the personal care home and when the patients saw us walk in and carrying gifts, their faces lit up. The joy on their face was indescribable.
I asked my mom, “How often do you do this?” She gleefully said, “Every year!” And I could tell by helping and serving others brought genuine happiness to my mom.
When my mom used to drop me and my twin sister off at school, her last words were never “goodbye.” Her last words were always, “Trey and Tarah, say something nice to someone today.”
But that’s just who she is. She taught all of us the idea of “making someone else smile can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world.”
Thanks Mom. Thanks for teaching me empathy and compassion. Compassion and empathy is a gift that everyone can afford to give. You showed me that the greatest asset a person can have is not the wallet in his pocket, but his heart that can be used to spread love and kindness throughout the world.
Thanks Dad. Thanks for teaching me the value of hard work, discipline, and respect. Without hard work and discipline, it’s impossible to do anything. And without respect, it’s impossible to be anything.
I love you both.