With my father being deceased for nearly 22 years and my mother (who is almost 95 years of age), I wanted to present to you some gems that I gleaned from both of them. I purposefully put the words we and our in the heading because as I share what my parents gave me through genetics and environmental assimilations, it is going to cause you to consider and honestly determine what gems were bequeathed to you from your parents. I am using the word gems to denote and describe the precious, beautiful, and sometimes priceless things that we received from our parents.
Gender and Distinctive Physical Attributes
Like me, all your physical attributes, like gender, physique, color of eyes, and such like are gems that were passed down from your parents. Beginning with your gender (which was determined by your biological father) to other unique things about your physique were transmitted to you genetically by both parents. Though, I have a lot of my mother’s distinctives in me, which I will allude to later. When I look in the mirror, I see my father looking back at me through my strong resemblance of him. I know that many of you can empathize with me and have had some similar experiences where you saw or heard one of your parents in the mirror or through mannerism.
IQ and Certain Abilities and Talents
It has long been determined by study and research of psychologists, sociologists, and other social scientists that a person’s IQ is both acquired through genetics and environmental factors. Depending upon the individual, it may vary in certain people and situations. This genetic gem can either be given by one or both parents. Though my father was the more academically gifted of my parents, my mother was certainly not lacking in brains and common sense. I can make no claim of being as academically inclined as my father, whose classmate once told me that he was head and shoulders above all the other students in their class. So much so that he once challenged and stood toe to toe about a math answer that he and the teacher disagreed on. At the end of the day, the teacher confessed before the whole class, ate a little crow meat, and admitted that my father was right. Then after receiving our IQ from either both or one of our parents through genetic and environmental factors, there are special gems in other areas that we got from our parents. Areas like musical aptitude, athletic ability, and other areas of being gifted and talented can be traced back to either one or both parents. Perhaps the greatest musical genius of all time was Ludwig Van Beethoven, whose father was a brilliant musician named Johann Van Beethoven. Obviously, the father passed on to his son the aptitude that helped to make him the greatest of all the classical composers.
In the field of athletics back in 1968, I played against a guy who ranks as one of the greatest athletes that the then Columbus High of Lake View ever produced on the football field and basketball court. His name is Sandy Leonard and he just happen to be the father of the All-Pro Linebacker of the Indianapolis Colts, Darius Leonard. Need I say more about how certain abilities and talents can be transferred through genetics from parents to children.
The Work Ethic and Frugality
In my opinion and personal case, two of the most precious gems that my parents gave me and my siblings were the work ethic and frugality. These two gems that are essential to experiencing a productive life were both enforced and assimilated from the environment that we lived in. First, the work ethic was exemplified by both of my parents, who were two of the hardest working people in our community. Anyone who knew either of them would tell you that they were two hard working people, who always gave their employers a hundred percent of their skill and effort. Whether it was my father, who worked as a bricklayer for Mr. J. E. Thomas or my mother, who worked for Rownd and Sons Basket Factory. Both were diligent and productive workers. To his credit, my was the enforcer of the work ethic in our family. He started us when we were young as laborers with his crew of bricklayers. He had one rule that he enforced, “Either you get up and go to work or you get out.” It was tough, but it worked. My mother must be credited for instilling in me and my siblings the principle and practice of being frugal and not wasteful. She was so thrift that she became a packrat as she got older. I must confess that there is a lot of my mother’s frugal ways in me and most of my brothers. I find myself squeezing the tube of toothpaste until I make sure I squeeze out every bit that is in the tube, as well as beating the lotion bottle in the palm of one of my hands to make sure that there is nothing left.
The Judeo-Christian Heritage
Beyond doubt, the greatest gem that me and my siblings received from our parents was our Judeo-Christian heritage. To her credit, it was our mother who was the instrument that God used to exemplify and instill the belief in Jesus Christ and other biblical practices, like praying, attending church, tithing, and other essentials. I am truly thankful and very appreciative for my mother’s adherence to her religious convictions that impacted our lives and helped to set us on the right road. I am afraid to say where I would perhaps be if it had not been for my mother’s persistent praying and undaunted commitment to God that I witnessed when I was growing up. I am quick to give honor to her as being the primary human agent that was both the foundation and inspiration to me being who and where I am as a servant of Christ. Like Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley who was credited with them being the great men of God that they were, Marie Smith Goings, my mother, certainly fulfill that role in the life of my siblings and me.