23 February 2017

Our Role Models

I can't think of the term "role models" without thinking of my parents.

My dad and mom are nearly opposite when it comes to their personalities. I am, by an odd trick of nature, a blend of both of their personalities. I have my mom's fiery passion paired with my dad's cautious attention to detail.  I'm more introverted, like my mom, but I'm also comfortable making a clown of myself on any sort of stage--and I get that from my dad. My looks come from my dad's side of the family and the ridiculously high value I place on freedom and free will come solidly from my mom's side.

I come by my similarities to my parents naturally, but Angel has no excuse. He and my mom have a scary amount in common between the two of them. But what's interesting is that, as a couple, we've really looked to them and their values in life as role models for the way we shape our own lives. Not that we do everything the same or have exactly the same values (my parents have absolutely no interest in minimalism and they laugh at our 'nice, clean, empty home'. In addition, they are both more mathematical, interested in mechanics and engineering and meetings that talk about numbers and strategies and policies. My interests are nearly always art- and language-based. No calculus required, and no boring meetings, either. ha!). But in several key areas, we have learned important lessons from their lives and have shaped our own lives based on what we've learned from them and their values:

1) Debt-free Living.
This was a value of my parents, and it's one that's been a priority of ours since before our marriage--we had a goal to get married debt-free and to stay that way. We have been grateful for the flexibility it offers us--to be free from the responsibility of a monthly payment on a debt. Sure, we don't really own much, and the lifestyle we have chosen for now isn't conducive to owning much in the first place, but we so appreciation the freedom of not owing anything.

2) You Cannot Be Too Generous.
If you ever start worrying about whether you're being too generous--stop worrying, because you're not. My mom's always said, "You can't out-give God." and I have found that to be infallibly true. We tend to view ourselves with the idea that we're most likely not being generous enough, and that helps direct our focus where it should be, on opportunities to love others.

3) "Go for the Life Experience."
This has been one family motto of ours ever since my dad had a choice between a temporary work assignment that would require the family to move to a new state, and a temporary work assignment that would allow the family to stay in the same house. Someone told him, "Go for the life experience!" so he decided to move the family for his work, and our lives were forever altered. When Angel and I were deciding whether or not to move to China for work, Dad said, "Go for the life experience!" and we did. Basically, when we have an opportunity for an experience that will impact our lives and our characters, we try to take it, rather than just sitting around on the safe and boring side of the fence.

4) Work Hard.
Laziness isn't tolerated in our family. But neither is busywork, staying busy but not actually accomplishing anything, encouraged. When you've finished working hard...

5) Have Adventures.
My family is known for being just a bit adventurous. One time Mom had a dream that the family went to Orlando--she told Dad about the dream, and the next morning, they left for Orlando. From Michigan. The week before Christmas. With a 5 year old, a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a baby on the way. My parents are not scared of adventure and have always been the best example of not using your children as an excuse to not have adventures. You've probably noticed over the past few years that Angel and I have carried on the love of adventure into our own generation.

6) Family is Extremely Important.
Sibling relationships should be cherished. Your extended family should be a network of people who care about and take care of each other--there is no replacement for family. Take good care of them--do whatever it takes. And some friends eventually become an adopted part of that extended family, which just gives you more people to love.

We also have other role models. I think most of us paste together bits and pieces from people we've known and seen into the sort of person we want to be in our minds. I'd like to have the writing skills of C.S. Lewis, the hair of a mermaid, the preaching skills of the Apostle Paul, the mystery-analysis skills of Sherlock, and the island lifestyle of Gilligan.

But if what can be said at the end of my life is that I impacted my world like my parents did, and that I loved people as they did--I figure I'll be content with that.

Linking up with Brita for today's #LoveBlog prompt: Role Models
Suzanne said...

What a beautiful post. Your parents must love to read your blog.


Helen said...

This is so beautiful! What a lovely tribute to your parents.

Jackie said...

Such a lovely post and I'm really close to mine which is really nice.

Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

The Peculiar Treasure said...

I love this post, Rachel! It sounds like your parents are wonderful! I was blessed with a great family too and the skills and lessons they taught me are some that will always be highly cherished! And amen to C.S. Lewis, Mermaid hair, Sherlock brains, and Paul-like preaching!

Abbey said...

Aw, how cool! What wonderful parents you have! My parents are definitely my role models, too! I love the way they love Christ! :)

Wife Sense said...

Your parents seem a great blend of wisdom and fun. You're a blessed daughter!

Unknown said...

i love the lessons you learned, family is so important for me too and i also love that you learned to go for life experiences. Sometimes, that gets washed away with the busyness of life work etc

Charlene Maugeri said...

These are some great lessons. And your parents seem like wonderful role models!

jillconyers said...

A lovely post that clearly expresses a love and appreciation for your parents.

Unknown said...

That is a really cute anniversary photo idea! I love the parallels between Angel and your mother. My husband and mom have pretty similar personalities as well, but they definitely don't share any "jumping from rooftop to rooftop" stories. That's pretty awesome. (It's actually something that my husband has done, as a child, but not my mom - nope. She has some crazy mountain biking stories, though).

Rachel @ The Confused Millennial said...

Awe I love this post! such a great anniversary photo idea and love all the values you outlined <3

Carolann @ Finding Ithaka said...

"If you ever start worrying about whether you're being too generous--stop worrying, because you're not." -- That is something my parents have instilled in me and it has made my focus in life a lot different, a lot better I think.

There are a lot of ways that my parents' relationship is like my own marriage and a lot of ways its different. Since Nick's parents divorced when he was young, we have a lot of different kinds of relationships to look at and think about. It's so important to have good relationship role models, and even better when they are your own parents.

Authentic Food Quest said...

These are great lessons and life teachings from your parents. You are blessed for growing up around such loving parents. Nice tribute!

Rach said...

I love this! It's so great that you guys have such great role-models in your parents! I agree with you on so many of these, but especially the one about how you can't be too generous. That's so so so true!

Natalie said...

This is amazing! I hope that my kids feel this way about my husband and I when we grow up since we place emphasis on all of these things in our own lives. I love your mom's sense of adventure--that Orlando trip sounds just like something I would con my husband into doing. :) :)

Brita Long said...

These are all great lessons! Dan and I both learned fiscal responsibility from our respective parents. Our only debt right now is Dan's car loan, which has such a low interest rate that it's about equal with the rate of inflation.

My younger brother and I have definitely chosen adventures. I lived in France for two years after graduation. He's in Vietnam right now!