October 26, 2010

{Parent's Day Essay Contest: 1st Place Winner!}

On October 3, 2010 I was invited to the Colorado Parent’s Day Awards Banquet to speak and to judge an essay writing contest.  To read more about the event scroll down or click here to read my October 6th post. It was a heart touching event organized by Peggy Yujiri and her team at the Colorado Parent’s Day Council, which celebrated  parents of excellence and the parents of the year. 

This essay, submitted by Irena Smith, has a simple writing style, and I love the fact that she reflected on small stories and her changed perception over time. Congratulations to the first place winner!

Parents
by Irena Smith

In our lives we meet thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands maybe. Maybe we’ve known some of them all our lives, since before we can remember. Maybe some of them are just people you once said hi to, and they said hi back. Maybe one is your kindergarten teacher, one is that kid at camp who taught you how to hacky sack, one that old lady across the street who once asked you to help her bring in her groceries. And of course, two of those people are your parents. You get the idea. Hundreds of thousands of people.
Every one of those people changes you in some way. Every one of them puts a little part of themselves in you when you relate to them, when you reciprocate with them. Now, we’ve all heard the phrase, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, but I doubt many people picture a village of hundreds of thousands. Every one of those people makes you who you are.
Parents are unimaginably valuable to a child. Childhood is when a person is developing themselves, when you need someone to look up to, to show you the way, to support you. That is the role of the parent. Naturally, the parent can’t do everything. That’s where all those other people in you life come in.
We’ve all been in a parental position to someone else at some point in our lives, whether we realized it at the time or not. We are all a part of the community we live in, the society we live in, the world we live in. It is our responsibility to take care of and teach the people around us. They are invaluable.
When your mom tells you not to hit people when you are too young to figure this sort of thing out for yourself, it is because someone once told her that, in a different time, in a different place. In general, it is an accepted rule that one does not hit other people. This is how a society is built. When you are a parental figure to someone else, you are changing them, just a tiny bit. And someday they will change some one else, and so on and so forth. Our mothers could just as easily spread the general rule that when someone else offends, for God’s sake, knock them out. That certainly wouldn’t create a world based on goodness.
When I was younger, I used to think that being a parent wouldn’t be a very good job. You aren’t saving people from fires, or teaching people how to read or anything important really. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My mom would try to explain it to me, “Maybe one of my children will save someone’s life someday,” she’d say. I just thought that was an awful lot of pressure for us. Now I am beginning to realize how true that is. Not just about your children literally, but all of the people you have been in a parental position to. All of the people you have put a little bit of yourself into.
So, next time you are in a parental position, think about what sort of rule you are spreading, what sort of world you want to see. Because parents have that power. Parents really can change the world one person at a time.
{Parent's Day Essay Contest: 1st Place Winner!}SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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