My dad has always approached fatherhood with a lighthearted sincerity. He believed that as a parent, it was his obligation to help us to become the best citizens possible. He was constantly reminding my sister and me that we needed to look upon our family as a community and always think about how our actions impacted the other members of our community. During my childhood, this meant always tucking shoes under the coffee table, so that other people wouldn’t trip over them, or turning lights off when we left the room. As we got older, he worked on broadening our perspective of community to include all of humanity. A good example of this is that when he taught me to drive, he instructed me to think about all the other cars on the road so as not to be the cause of someone else’s accident (and also that careful observation could potentially keep me out of an accident caused by someone else)
As a kid, I often got tired of hearing him repeat, “You’ve got to be community-minded!” I particularly disliked it when it was used in reference to doing chores (cleaning the cat box was my least favorite). However, as I’ve gotten older, I am so grateful for this early conditioning, as it helped me become a person who is aware of how her actions effect other people. In a world where so many people are oblivious as to how their behavior impacts the people around them, I am grateful that my eyes are open in this manner.
Of all the things I plan to teach the children I’ll have someday, being mindful of their community tops the list. Thanks Daddy, for giving me such a valuable education in being a good person!