Sunday, February 24, 2013
Lessons My Father and Mother Taught Me
James Scott Bell
What about you? What lessons for life would you pass on, and who did you learn them from?
I was blessed with good parents. They were of the "Greatest Generation," decent and dedicated to taking care of their family of three boys. When I look at how I’ve lived my life, it’s all been a variation on a theme: I wanted them to be proud of me.
Even now, with both of them gone, I still think about them when looking at my own behavior.
From my dad I learned these things:
1. Never hit a girl.
2. You have to work hard to get anywhere.
3. Never, ever use the N word (my dad played baseball with Jackie Robinson on the UCLA team).
4. Everybody is entitled to the protections of the United States Constitution, even (nay, especially) those who can’t afford a lawyer.
5. If you make a commitment to someone, keep it.
6. Don’t lie.
From my mom I learned:
1. Don’t be selfish.
2. Don’t drink milk from the carton.
3. Take care of somebody when they’re sick.
4. Stand up for a friend if he’s treated unfairly.
5. Laugh a lot—it helps get you through life.
6. Finish your homework before you watch TV.
If I’ve managed to achieve some measure of success, I really do owe it to my parents. They laid the foundation.
When I started to take writing seriously, I determined that while I may not have the native talent of certain writers (for example, I think Stephen King is a literary and imaginative genius) at least I could work as hard as anyone. And I’ve tried. Thanks, Dad.
I also appreciate the value of a good laugh at strategic times. I write suspense, but I like comedy relief, a la Hitchcock. Reader mail tells me I do pretty well with that. Thanks, Mom.