FranklyStein: Words of wisdom from the weekend

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Last weekend I received two golden nuggets of wisdom. I don’t come by these often or at least, I don’t often remember them, but these two stood out so I’m going to share them.

The first was in regards to volunteering.

My kids’ swim team hosted a major three-day meet this past weekend that required many volunteers and a huge amount of time. We all know the 80/20 rule — 20 percent of the people usually do 80 percent of the work in events such as these. And on Sunday, I was running up against this when attempting to drum up extra hands to help line up the little kids for their events. No one besides those already scheduled would step forward to help — except one mom who had already volunteered the entire day before. She was glad to help out and explained why.

“It’s so important for our kids to see us get involved,” she said. “It shows them the importance of volunteering and that we care. Why wouldn’t I want to help out?”

While I’m usually one to step forward to volunteer when there’s a need, I might not always exhibit the best attitude. This mom was amazing. She was incredibly helpful. She kept the kids in line. She was firm but fun and they loved her. So did I.

The second sage words were in regards to my aging mother and father. As they get older and less flexible and sometimes more needy, I often struggle with treating them with the respect I know they deserve. I explained this to a priest this weekend and instead of letting me off the hook and agreeing that it’s hard to deal with one’s elderly parents, he held me accountable.

“You really need to pay attention to this,” he told me. “Your kids watch how you treat your parents, and they are the ones who will be caring for you one day.”

Yikes. I know I’ve heard this before, but it really caught my attention this time. My parents can’t help the fact that they are getting older and need more help. One day I’m going to be in the same boat, and I’m going to want to be treated with respect.

Hopefully I’ll remember this the next time I have to partake in the same conversation five times in five minutes.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 13, Lilly, 12, Adam, 12, and Jonah, 8.