A rich legacy

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Today is midway between Mother's Day and Father's Day, and my column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is a salute to my mom and dad, David and Sandy Bates, for the example they set of community involvement:

If you like the fact that I'm not afraid to step on toes, not afraid to speak passionately in a public forum, willing to put my name on a ballot and my opinions and reputation on the line again and again, you have my dad and mom to thank. Or to blame, if you'd just as soon I sat down and shut up....

You can lecture all you like about good citizenship, but nothing substitutes for being a model. The way my parents used their time and passion demonstrated for me the importance of caring for the community.

From Dad and Mom, I learned to step forward and lead, when others would rather sit and watch from the sidelines. They never pushed themselves forward, but when duty called they answered. When no one else would take the lead, they stepped forward. When others got bored or discouraged or disgusted and quit, they remained faithful. They persisted.

Happy belated Mother's Day, Mom. Happy early Father's Day, Dad. I love you, I'm proud of you, and I can't thank you enough for all you've done for me, particularly for the wonderful example you set of persistent and passionate community involvement.

In the story, I mentioned my dad's retirement career as a Real Bearded Santa; you'll find him on the web at SantaTulsa.com.

I also mentioned my mother-in-law, Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe, who was honored at the White House in 2002 with a "Point of Light" award for her work with the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County (Ark.).

I also mentioned a poem by Philip Larkin that derides parenthood. Numerous poetic rebuttals have been written. This is my favorite, by John J. Swift:

They buck you up, your mum and dad,
They always meant to and they do.
They give you all the love they had,
And add some extra, just for you.

'Cos they were bucked up, in their turn,
By nans and grandads, all the way
From dawn to dusk, they had to learn
To love their neighbour every day.

Nan handed on her love to mam,
Who passed it on to me, her son.
Now every blessed thing I am
Will be in my kids, every one.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 28, 2008 6:53 PM.

Downtown Drillers review was the previous entry in this blog.

Lessons from Mom and Dad is the next entry in this blog.

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