Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Parents of the last 36 Years Award

My parents have always allowed and encouraged me to chase my dreams. I don't know that I realized that when I was younger.

Their time and money was spent on me taking baton twirling lessons, piano lessons, traveling, participating in choir events, becoming a "Future Business Leader of America," a Future Farmer of America," a "Future Homemaker of America," and all kinds of other things. I only recently realized that they enjoy traveling...I suppose because I spent all of their money as a teenager exploring my own interests!

My parents have always been very involved in their community...serving at the Senior Citizens Center, visiting the local nursing home, volunteering for Lion's Club, supporting summer baseball leagues...the list could go on. As the presiding commisioner of the town, my dad is very involved in writing grants and creating programs that benefit the entire community. Since it is a rural community, he recognizes the need to seek out programs that help poorer people in the community, but that benefit the city overall.

Over the last few weeks, I've had a couple of conversations with my dad where he has strongly encouraged me...and is quite adamant...to get involved in politics. Despite my attempt to convince him that I'm involved in more of the grass roots organizing efforts in my community, he insists that I need to run for office or at the very least, get involved in what is sure to become a very historical presidential campaign. "That's how you make change," he keeps telling me.

My dad and I are on opposing sides when it comes to party politics, but I truly respect and admire that he knows what effects change...and he encourages that no matter what political side one might be on. Both my mom and dad have encouraged and supported me in stepping into situations that I thought I wanted, others that I wasn't necessarily ready for, and many that I wasn't necessarily good at...and then pushing me to be the best at whatever I chose.

My dad explained to me last night, "No one's ever ready. Just get in there."

Good advice from a wise farmer and politician from small town Missouri. I wish more people had parents like I have. I hope as we move forward in our efforts in Rochester Park or in my own Jubilee Park neighborhood...or simply in my conversations with other friends and young people...that I can inspire the same kind of action my parents have inspired in me.

"No one's ever ready. Just get in there!"
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