This tribute was inspired by Dennis Rainey's book The Tribute: What Every Parent Longs to Hear. In Exodus 20:12 God says, " Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." It's the only one of the Ten Commandments that comes with a promise.
I read this tribute to my parents the day before I was married. It was an incredible experience.
August 15, 1998
Dear Mom and Dad,
As I prepare to be married and start a family of my own, I have been reflecting on the family from which I came. As I think about you, I am filled with wonder, deep appreciation, pride, and joy for all that you have been for me.
I see two parents who were incredibly focused on providing for Edie and me. When I became troubled in public school, you reached deep in your pockets so I could go to Brunswick Academy. You made every childhood Christmas wonderful with gifts that brought great delight. Mom always loved to take me shopping and made sure I was dressed right. You worked hard so that I could enjoy college without having to work to support myself. Graduating debt free gave me a solid foundation for starting my adult life. You helped me buy my first car and my very own place. All of this in addition to the thousands of everyday ways you provided for me. Thank you for the times you went without so I wouldn’t have to.
I see two parents who have always helped me achieve my dreams by giving me the freedom, support, and resources I needed. Because of you I could take piano lessons, go to baseball camp, take summer enrichment courses, study abroad, work in the Virginia Senate, and go on a mission trip to France. You adjusted your life so I could participate in whatever sport or school club I wanted. On how many school projects did Mom come to the rescue when I had waited until the last minute? I remember how special I felt when Dad paved the drive and created the best basketball court in Emporia. An then there was the time he stood up for me when I got thrown out of my last high school baseball game. Though at first the idea of me joining Campus Crusade full-time was difficult for you, you soon became my biggest supporters. Thank you for sacrificing some of your dreams so I could realize mine.
I see two parents who handed down the values I cherish. Mom is the single most important example of caring and compassion in my life. She cared for Big Dad like he was her own father; that taught me what real love looks like. Our Sunday visits to Dolphin, Lawrenceville, and Edgerton have taught me the value of family and of knowing your roots. Because it was important in our family to go to church, I learned about God, the Bible, and faith. Dad taught me the value of hard work and hot to handle money wisely. Thank you for patiently teaching me during the times I wasn’t a good student.
I see two parents who made sure out family spent time together. Some of my favorite times have been when we sat on Dad’s lap to read Uncle Remus stories and when we gathered ‘round to hear him read “The Night Before Christmas.” Mom was there for us after school every day. When we got older, she would call us when we got home to lovingly ask, “How was school today?” (I wish I had given more than a one word answer.) I remember how much fun I had when you took me to see Star Wars and The Apple Dumpling Gang. Together we’ve visited the Amish, seen the Old-Timer’s Classic, gone to Disney World, and toured the Old Country. You’ve traveled across the country to let me know you care about me. Thank you for making me feel like a priority even when I did not do the same.
I see two people. They are talented, selfless, and loving. They have had dreams and disappointments, successes and failures, joy and sadness. Through it all they have remained faithful to each other and to their family. I am proud to call them Mom and Dad.