Autumn: A Season of Remembrance

I find Autumn is the most bitter-sweet of seasons for me, conjuring up memories…some joyful, others melancholy. Last Autumn I began a Memory Anthology which included several homilies delivered by my mother. She always told me, “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar dear.” And while she was referring to the way I treated boys at the time, that simple statement had wider implication. You see, Mother was right!

Wanting Memories

Whether we want to admit it or not, it turns out that we begin teaching our children the moment they are born. You have undoubtedly heard many of the Pop Psyche Guru’s talk about the importance of ‘words’ and that when speaking to a stranger, a co-worker or those whom we love, it is important for all of us to practice ‘civility’ but did you know that before the age of 16, in a school exercise George Washington actually transcribed 110 rules on civility that had been originally compiled by 16th Century Jesuit Priests?

I am so thoroughly convinced of the importance of civility that when my sons were young, I purchased copies of George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation to tuck into Christmas Stockings.

Parenting rewards

Recently I was visiting with my youngest son, now 33, who shared with me that these many years later he continues to find importance in the practice of the values brought to his attention in that little book. Sometimes we wait a long while to know what we share with our children is serving them well.

Another of my mother’s sage homilies is, “Once a Parent; Always a Parent.” She quite often made that point very clear  during my youth as well as adulthood. I was ‘unconvinced’ of her point until I became a parent myself, which has been my experience about a lot of what she shared with me.  When I admit as much to her she flashes me a knowing smile.

from CROSSINGS by Y.M. Barnwell ©1992

I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me
to see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.

You said you’d rock me in the cradle of your arms.
You said you’d hold me ‘til the storms of life were gone.
You said you’d comfort me in times like these and now I need you.
Now I need you…
And you are –
gone.

So, I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me
to see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
Since you’ve gone and left me, there’s been so little beauty,
but I know I saw it clearly through your eyes.
Now the world outside is such a cold and bitter place.
Here inside I have few things that will console.
And when I try to hear your voice above the storms of life,
then i remember all the things that I was told.

Thank you Mother.

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