One last request: Fathers and Mothers create and celebrate your success.
Have you seen the Coke commercial where the guy is tied to the stake before a firing squad? He’s given one last request. He asks for something and after a slight pause, when he is about to die, he says “and” making his last request actually several including a cold drink.
It isn’t a bad idea to start imagining the end of your life. The sooner we realize that some successes just won’t be good enough if we don’t have others as well, the better off we’ll be.
President David O. McKay, the ninth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” It pays to look ahead and ask, “If I get my goal, will I be filled with more regrets than celebration? How can I prevent that?
What driving goals and ambitions we had may later feel hollow and empty if we didn’t also develop relationships and cherish people on our way. My father was an entrepreneur and an inventor, and he was a husband, and he was a father of nine children and he was a good man that loved freedom, his country and his God. He was genuine, caring and helpful to others. I’m so thankful for his example of how to be a success in many ways. His attitude was contagiously positive and his actions backed up his words. He always said,
“There is always room at the top.” –Lynn H. Smith
Love at Home
His words continue to encourage us. His decisions and actions gave me many of my most precious gifts. He gave me my mother, my life, my siblings, and my home. He encouraged my strengths and my education. He supported us financially so, in that way, he gave me my mother twice. My life growing up was much less stressful and more secure than it could have been because she was there. He showed me how to treat other people with genuine caring and sincerity. If you had his attention, you had all of it. It was a very sweet prize.
I learned a lot by watching my parent’s example. One of the most secure things I had growing up was my parent’s visible love for each other. My father would dip my mother backwards in the entryway making a big show of the kiss for all of us kids. My parents would hold hands and were visibly happy to see each other even unexpectedly. A strong, secure marriage is a hard thing to understand and see now a days especially since many women and men seem to be fighting to be “king of the hill.”
To play “king of the hill” all you need is a small hill. A pile of leaves might do or a hill of dirt. You climb to the top and push off anyone who approaches and tries to take your place at the pinnacle. Children seem to naturally know and enjoy this game. Sometimes they work together to push the big guy off the top.
In so many ways we never seem to outgrow that game. Why are we so competitive? Jealous people seem to love to take down the leader, the ones with the great grades, the ones “making me look bad” by comparison. If you are going to aim for the top, you have to expect a lot of hands grabbing at your ankles and trying to drag you down.
Sometimes marriages seem like a constant shoving match to be “king of the hill.” Even intellectually it is hard for us to grasp how two people could both be the boss and equal. How is it possible? How do we do it without pushing the other over or down?
“Is there always room at the top?”
How can we have a calm and happy, loving marriage? How can we truly share in the success of all our other, individual accomplishments? Many give the advice to make your spouse number one in your life. I think that is true, but also confusing. How can I make you number one, but also be number one? If I put you up on a pedestal to make you number one, doesn’t that make me small? It certainly doesn’t sound equal. It doesn’t sound like there is really room for both of us on the top of that hill.
There are, in general, two different kinds of relationships. There is a parent to child type of relationship which is not equal and there is the peer relationship which is equal as long as both are valued and it is truly a reciprocal, healthy relationship. There is nothing wrong with a parent/child type of relationship. We use it all the time in relationships with our boss, the police, a teacher, or a judge. There are times when we are not equal in authority and it is not harming in general to give deference to a person in authority that has our welfare in mind. Having those in authority around us that enforce rules and teach us provides order and safety to all of us, even as adults. Even in marriage we at times need to defer to each other to keep the peace.
But, if we are leaders together, and I make you number one, doesn’t that disrupt the equal, reciprocal relationship and put me in the child’s role? It might if you think there can only be one king of the hill. But what if there really is room at the top for two? What does that look like?
I’ve explored it because if you are married, I don’t think you will feel successful if you gain the whole world but are miserable at home. If you are married with children, I think there is no greater gift you can give them than to love their mother or their father if you can. You can be replaced almost everywhere but you can not be replaced in your family.
For example, my children are all adopted. We are their mother and father that they have had almost all of their lives. But, we can not and will not ever replace their birth parents. My children have both. If you get divorced, and your spouse remarries, that person will take your role, maybe, but that person will never be and can never be you. At home, we are irreplaceable.
So, if this is the one place we can never, truly be replaced, someone could do our jobs or our role, but never be us, it pays to figure out how to do it well. But, it is so difficult. My parents often seemed to have it figured out. They had one bank account. They were a team. But, I needed something more. I needed a vision of what it should look like.
One and One do not make Two.
The picture I came up with was a new number, a new entity altogether.
We are each number one and neither of us is a one.
We are a number eleven crowning the top of the hill at home.
Give yourself, your spouse and your children a success you will never, ever regret. Fulfill your spouse’s most important requests now and find your way to the top together.
I wish you all a very happy father’s day.
One and One
I know my math
Because “we” is better
than two halfs together
DarEll S. Hoskisson
DarEll S. Hoskisson loves to do hard things, but not too hard. She shares her own challenges, goals and experiences as she guides you into a realistic path of self-reflection and self-improvement. She shares tips on how to find, know and trust yourself so you can decide if other’s suggestions are right for you. DarEll has the world a little upside down—where work is play and play is work. She actually thinks other people’s problems are fun to try to solve and lights up with a personal challenge. She loves people, harmony, and excellence. She also loves useful things like tools and ideas that make work faster, easier and more fun. DarEll married in 1993 and graduated from BYU (1995) with a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education. Since then she was adopted by 5 children and has worked with many non-profits. She is currently a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor—leading pilates and yoga at her local YMCA. DarEll lives in Florida where she enjoys her family, nature, her work, and encouraging people to live well. She periodically posts her poems, what she is learning, and service opportunities on her personal blogs: https://personalabridgements.wordpress.com and https://darellhoskisson.wordpress.com