This morning, I told Brandon (7) to brush his teeth before leaving for school. "Yes, Daddy." Then he skirted around the corner and disappeared....for about 30 seconds! "Ok, Daddy, I'm ready", provoked one of my favorite expressions,
"Brandon, you have GOT to be kidding me!"
I saw a "teachable moment" so I asked him if he wanted me and other people to be able to trust him with big things. When he affirmed that he did I told him,
"Brandon, if you want people to trust you with big things, you have to show that you can be trusted with little things first."
I could tell just from the expression on his face that he got it, and then without another word, he was off to complete the task for real this time.
There's really no doubt in my mind that this will stick with Brandon. We try to instill the proper values in the boy, and even when it seems as though it's not all sinking in, I know that when it really counts, these things will return to him. Case in point; last year among other achievements Brandon won "The Honesty Award". This was my favorite.
Why? Because it was not only a proud moment for me as a father, I knew that it was a "handing-down" of lessons I learned as a boy from my own father. One of my very first memories is of my dad telling me
"The three things I ask of you are to treat your mother with respect, always try your best, and never lie." - George Vogt, III (Dad)
Even today, I remember that he wrote these words (that he had already written upon my heart) in my Kindergarten signature book.
Now, I know that there have been times in my life when I have failed these principles, but they are always there in my mind and heart, prompting me to be a better person, a better man. Little things that my parents said and did, that they may not even remember, have helped me countless times to choose to do right, and sometimes to choose to do the better thing even though I had already lost my way or chosen the wrong thing first.
This is assurance for me, not only with Brandon, but with all of my children, that some of these little lessons have helped them and will continue to guide them in the future.