|My Grandpa on the left (RIP), one-year-old Kaitlin in the middle, Dear Ole Dad on the right.|
Now that I have kids of my own, I've thought about how I'd like to raise them -- habits, lifestyles, etc. And at the core of my hopes for them is they are kind and stay kind. Like, really kind. The type of kind that smiles at strangers and asks the clerks rolling the grocery carts in the store how they're doing, the type of kind that does good deeds unasked and without reward, that really hears people, that really sees people, and is unafraid to go against the grain to be kind.
This is thanks to my dad, that I want this for my kids, that I've thought about it at all. If I had to describe my dad in a few words, I guess I'd say he really sees people. And it doesn't matter who you are. If you're a breathing soul, you have Chet's attention, you're guaranteed a smile, an inquiry about how you're doing, and (if you're a Detroiter) a small conversation on the Tigers' season.
I haven't always appreciated this quality about him. Actually, when I was a teenager I thought it was annoying. I'd run an errand with him expecting a quick trip and my expectations would be quickly squashed as he stood there and chatted with the greeter at Meijer. When I was 14, The Extreme Makeover Home Edition crew came to our city to remodel a home to accommodate a family with special needs. My middle school self waited with a good friend for Ty Pennington to come over and sign our shirts, the ultimate point as to why we stood there for so long. The Pistons had just won the championship and this called for a photo-op with the home renovating celebrity. So Ty was taken away, we gave up, and we never got our autograph. My dad came home later that night and mentioned he walked over the remodel house to "check it out." He was gone for so long because "the guy in charge was handing out pizza boxes to pass around to people and chatted for a bit." So my dad helped. Of course.
Wait, what his name, Dad?
Ty, I think?
Yes, I waited for I'm not sure how long to get a peak of a celebrity in real life, and my dad casually chatted with him not knowing who he was and it wouldn't have mattered if he did.
These are just a couple of memories, stories in a treasure chest full of reminders of my dad's kindness and humanity toward people. As a wife and mom, I hope to follow in his footsteps and teach my kids that a person's a person no matter how small. And like my dad, I hope to not have to sit down and formally teach them this lesson, but rather to spend a lifetime of teaching them through example.