Honoring a special couple, the epitome of great role models.
This weekend was a great weekend for us. Not only was it Father’s Day yesterday, where we remember all the dads in our lives, past and present, but for our family it also included a really special event.
My parents, who share ownership of a sailboat with another couple, are members of a local yacht club. Although the words “yacht club” sound incredibly fancy, it’s really a very casual spot with picnic tables and piers, seagulls, and boats going by. Generally, when we visit there with my parents, everyone is seen in shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits and flip flops.
Once a year however, the yacht club is transformed for the annual “Commodore’s Ball,” which honors that year’s Commodore. The Commodore is sort of the equivalent of being the president, and to be Commodore (a one year stint) you must work your way up through all of the other jobs below it first, which takes several years.
This year, my dad is the Commodore. Through the years he’s done each of the jobs below this one, working through whatever that year entails, including some big hurricane damage and renovations at the club a couple of the years, and working with all of the members of the club and members of the board.
We’re incredibly proud of him and of my mom, who is truly is right hand “man” in all that he does.
In addition to this he’s also on the board of the association where they live, and has had to deal with a lot of things going on there. He’s been retired from his job for four years, but he was always a leader in his field when he was working as well.
I get a lot of my leadership and personality traits from my dad, and although I think I’ve always known that, I don’t think I truly realized just how much I’ve gained from him until this weekend, and really how much I’ve gained from the two of them together.
This weekend, I knew for sure that I’ve taken the best of the best from two of the best: my parents.
Friday night we were speaking to him about an issue taking place with the association where they live and how that was being dealt with. What stuck out to me was not only the leadership role he’d taken, and how others were looking to him for guidance, but mostly the fact that he mentioned that when he spoke to the group he spoke about treating others the way they wanted to be treated, and not stooping below that to meet anyone any lower.
What an important thing to remember when dealing with people: the Golden Rule; treating others how you expect to be treated.
Not everyone lives by that rule and you see it often in day to day dealings throughout life, and I know that I personally try to counter it by not stooping below the benchmark I’ve set for my own behavior, no matter what I’m dealing with.
On Saturday night, we attended the Commodore’s Ball in my parents’ honor. It was an amazing experience, the yacht club was transformed to an elegant setting, unmatched by anything I’d seen in all my years visiting them there. However, it wasn’t the elegance that will stick with me, it wasn’t the AMAZING dessert spread, (TOTALLY AMAZING) but rather it was the grace and humble manner exhibited by my parents that evening, particularly my dad, as the Commodore himself.
I was shocked when during dinner he asked for a pen and scrap of paper so that he could make some notes. He wanted to be sure not to forget anyone when he made a speech, thanking people for their presence and their hard work. His speech was unrehearsed and it was from the heart. He always says to me that he’s jealous of people’s ability to speak in front of others, but watching him the other night, you’d never know it.
And then, there were the guests.
We went table to table, meeting all the members of the club. We circulated during the appetizers. Time and time again, the exact same words were spoken to us:
“We love your parents.”
“Your parents are such good people.”
Traits like kindness and niceness, treating others with respect and treating others how you’d like to be treated trump all, and that was clear on Saturday night.
No one came up to us and spoke to us about the size or type of boat my parents share with their friends–which is nothing super fancy, or the type of car they drive (which is also nothing fancy) or the type of house they live in. None of that really matters.
The only thing anyone thought to share with us was how nice my parents are and how kind they are to everyone.
I know that my parents have always been my role models, but on Saturday night I truly knew that they’d taught me the best lessons of all throughout my life as they modeled for me, and continue to model for me, the traits that I want to be sure to carry on as a legacy to them as I journey through my dealings with people during the rest of my days.
Be kind, be nice, treat others with respect and how you’d like to be treated.
That’s what people will remember, that’s what your legacy will be.
Congratulations Dad, Congratulations Mom!
Love you both.