Since returning from a visit to my sister my mind has been returning to my childhood in Nova Scotia, where I was born and lived until I was 20. When you grow up in a large family (7 boys, 4 girls), your perspective on life is different. My parents were wonderful Christian people who taught us to treat others with respect and kindness. Here are a few things I learned as I grew up:
- Everyone matters. Everyone was welcomed at our house. Our front door was never locked. People just walked in since if they knocked on the door, no one would ever hear them over the noise of boys playing basketball in the living room. One young man used to walk in the front door at lunch time, play the piano for a few minutes and then continue on out the back door to his own lunch.
- Pray. We always prayed together as a family and whoever dropped by at those times, also dropped to their knees and joined in. My Dad used to lead the prayers, walking from room to room with the rest of us kneeling wherever we found ourselves. We saw our parents going to Church and reading the Bible and they didn’t have to tell us it was deeply ingrained in them.
- Appreciate beauty. There was always music and art and reading at home. Piano playing, singing, painting, poetry writing and good literature were a part of the “noise” and bustle of our home. I remember one uncle saying when we visited him that if he didn’t have anything to read, we would read the light bulbs!
- Laugh every day. Whenever any of our family members get together these days, laughter is there as well. All the old stories are trotted out and we still look for the light side of things. When Mom was an older lady, a few of us were visiting and telling stories and she said she wanted to go to bed because she loved being in her room listening to us all laughing as she fell asleep.
- Sports are important. I don’t think you can be in a family of seven boys and not care about sports. We were and are all active in playing and watching sports and learned about loyalty and perseverance.
Both our parents have passed on and five years ago, our dear brother, Jimmy joined them. We all love each other and enjoy nothing more than being together. We aren’t all rich and none of us are famous, but we still welcome others, especially “outsiders”, we pray, appreciate beauty, watch and participate in sports, and we definitely laugh every day. I wouldn’t change it for the world!