How I spent my summer vacation

Anyone remember that question, often given to us as kids during the first week of school? I remember being envious of those who took long trips or moved into new houses or boasted about “toys” such as their boats or new used cars. With summer all but over I first need to apologize for not writing a column last month. In eight years of this column it was the first that I missed; my reason, summer happened. My summer to remember has held many life changing events. My oldest child is starting college soon; this thought brought me back to reminiscing of summers past, all with a heavy heart. Briana my middle child had a summer to remember. Not only has she found work, two jobs, for her sweet sixteen present we attended the Warped tour, basically a day of screaming metal bands and thousands of kids to young adults in a field having a great time; think Jimmy Buffet but louder. Lastly my youngest has come into her own, as a young woman, now entering high school. When we look back at summers it’s often the trips we remember, the swimming, the camping, the nights under the stars. With temps this summer swimming hasn’t been on my agenda, camping is coming up soon, and hopefully it’s a clear night so that we can see the stars. The real summer for me has been one of removing all the burnt items from my rental that burned; at one point hiring someone to do it due to my emotions being too high at times.

My sixteen-year-old survived her driver’s test and as a proud father I let her drive as much as she wants; I think the fun has already gone out of that adventure. As a parent I teach life lessons, with driving its “drive like everyone else on the road can’t.” With dating it’s been a lesson of being respected, if at any time they don’t feel respected it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. This family has been through many changes this year from death of a family member, the fire, a divorce, and most recently a career change for me; not by choice. With my former students I taught them the facts, the theories that they needed to grasp the larger picture. On top of that I taught them how to handle the workplace, and was very successful in finding them placements that turned into employment after graduation. What did I do on my summer vacation? I learned some valuable life experience. I learned that compassion is greater than hatred. I learned that I value people more than things. The compassion comes from my days spent in my burned out house, doing my best to smile and picture a repaired house fit for living once again. This summer I’ve sold items that I cherished, books, collectibles, anything to raise funds for the trips and the fun that summer demands. People matter, things don’t. As we as a family head into our next chapter in life I’ll continue to write about it, share the stories, and enjoy the “people” as they comment on Family Matters.