In life people have good examples to emulate and help guide their life and unfortunately many also have bad examples. I have always wanted to give our children good examples to follow and hopefully my wife and I accomplished this a little.
My parents separated when I was in the 3rd grade and both of my parents remarried within several years thereafter. While there could be some debate regarding the issue, I can tell you that in my parent’s case it was the right decision to make. My mother married one of the greatest men I have ever known and has been my dad from the first day. He and my mom always set the example of what a real family should be like which included safety, love, respect, thoughtfulness and honesty. They were my good example.
My dad remarried a woman and the life they had together set the example for me of what I never wanted my life to be. The opposite of the positive attributes I mentioned in the above paragraph were true for my father and stepmother. As soon as I graduated high school, I joined the Navy and never allowed myself to be influenced by them again. In high school I was the president of my senior class and caption of the football team but could never be good enough to earn their love. They never came to one of my games or school events and said by their actions how unimportant I was in their life.
Last week I was counseling with a young man in his 20’s with a similar family situation. I told him to cherish both the good examples and bad examples in his life because one shows you what you want and the other shows you want you don’t want. Both are equally as powerful and impactful to your life. I told this young man that when I left for the Navy, I knew I could never earn my dad’s or stepmother’s love, so I closed that door in my heart and stopped trying to achieve something I knew I was never going accomplish. I told this young man how I was always kind and respectful and often visited but I never allowed myself to open that door to my heart again.
Sometimes there are people in our lives that we just need to walk away from and gently close a door to our heart that we never allow to open again. Then there are the cases like my mom and stepdad where you cherish the relationship and do everything you can to keep it fresh in your life.
With the young man I was counseling, I don’t know if my story had an impact for him or not, but he did tell me several days later that he closed that door in his life and chose (he close) to start being the man he was meant to be instead of living his life influenced by his bad examples. KT