Parents are Much Smarter than we Think
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by Frank Shortt
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My parents were very honest, hard-working citizens of the USA and they were also professing Christians with leanings toward the Pentecostal
Faith. They raised ten children in their ways of life and all ten excelled in some way or the other.
They taught us that drinking
alcohol was not the best remedy for a humdrum life or any problems we might encounter. Had I listened to them about alcohol I would
have saved myself many hangovers, hugging the toilet bowl with my stomach churning, and less problems in my everyday life fighting
and carousing around! Why don't some children listen to their parents about the facts of life?
Had I taken their advice about smoking
tobacco, I would not have spent the first years of my life with nicotine stained fingers and shortness of breath when I should have
been in the prime of my life. Had I known that there were at least 15 additives in tobacco to keep one hooked, I would probably have
never started. Being in the USAF for four years didn't help either. Cigarettes were only fifteen cents a pack or one dollar and 20cents
a carton at the PX. Thank God I was delivered from tobacco and alcohol all in the same day when I was about twenty-seven years old.
It is funny that when we are young and full of pith and vinegar, we think we know it all. After we get a little age on us we begin
to see that our parents were not so stupid as we assumed!
When one of the children in my family got out of bed with a bad attitude,
Mom would immediately say, "Honey draws more flies than vinegar!" That saying came back to me on many occasions as I began mingling
with others of society. I suppose I used that saying when dealing with my children and others who might have had a bad disposition.
I found out early that a smile is much superior to a frown.
Dad was always a man of integrity in our community of Shortt Gap, Virginia.
I used to go with him when he would be called to go and pray for one or the other of his neighbors. I learned a lot by watching him
and would have benefitted from his attitude early on if I had applied it then. I applied it later in life and began to see the benefits
at once. I suppose that one would call me rebellious as a teenager. I never wanted to stay home where, deep inside, I knew that I
was safe. For some reason I wanted to be with boys my own age who had a penchant for using tobacco and alcohol. I left home at 18
and ran away to the USAF where I thought I would be able to do almost anything I pleased. After a few days of being under the thumb
of a heavy-handed drill sergeant I began to miss home something awful. I was not the only one with tears on my pillow. I could hear
men at night sniffling , huge men, and I knew right away what was wrong with them. They were as homesick as I was!
After being in
basic training for a week or two, I began to see the value of home life. The drill sergeant's constant haranguing was far worse than
anything my mom had put me through. I found out that the only thing I could do was to adapt to the ways of Uncle Sam and count my
blessings for three square meals a day, clothing for my body, and a roof over my head. I think I convinced myself, "After all, I only
have to put up with this for four years!
When I met my wife and later as we were married and eventually had children, I suddenly remembered
how much responsibility a parent has. Here I was with only two children and I thought I had it bad until I remembered that I had nine
siblings that my mom and dad were responsible for. Soon I began to put into practice all the teaching and sage remarks that my parents
used on me. I began to realize that my parents were much smarter than I thought they were when I was at home as a teenager. Boy, had
I been a dunderhead most of my life!