Good morning – we are back in the Midwest after almost a week in the much warmer South. Our primary reason for going was to attend the wedding of my sister’s son, but it also gave us time to visit with my parents as well.
During these past days, I had the opportunity to visit with my 84 year old father whose health is not so good and he is beginning to have some challenges with his memory. He sleeps a lot of the time now, but we had some great conversations.
For some reason, much of our conversation centered around his time in the service. Too young to serve in the military in World War II (his two older brothers did – one a bomber pilot and the other an infantryman), he joined as soon as he could which was just shortly after the war ended. He joined the US Army’s Air Forces which later became the US Air Force. He was a radio technician responsible for repairing the radios on the B-29 Superfortress and even once worked on the Enola Gay.
He told me about the fights he got into, how he loved to dance the “two-step”, how beautiful my mother was when they married and about how they loved to dance. He talked about his work and he was proud of his craftsmanship. He was a Class A Repairman for some huge pumping engines at a natural gas pipeline pumping station in Mississippi. We talked some about the things he did, but mostly we talked about the people in his past. He talked about how bad bosses made his work miserable and how good bosses made his work enjoyable. He especially enjoyed his last years as he was treated with respect by his boss and allowed to do his job.
He talked about how different people impacted his life. He talked about relationships. And that’s my point – at 84 years old he most remembers the relationships. Not the tasks he accomplished or the things he had, but it was about the people – the relationships.
So some questions for you – are you working more on the relationships or more on the tasks with people being an annoyance? When people look back on their lives and share their stories, how will they remember you? Will you be that boss or co-worker that made their jobs miserable? Or will you be the one that made their work a joy?
How will people you touch remember you in 30 years?
If you are blessed to still have your parents alive, then go sit down with them and ask a lots of questions – you will be blessed.