Don’t get above your raising

Posted By | May 19, 2008 12:00 am

How many times have you heard the title of my column said to you?
For those who are my age and older, it is almost a sure thing you have heard it many, many times. However, those who are much younger than the 50-plus-crowd probably do not even know what that phrase means. And, that is sad, because there is a lesson to be learned from those few words.
Parenting does not come with a set of instructions. We can read all the books from all the experts, but those are soon thrown out the window (literally) when we realize each of our children is cut from a different mold. No book in the world prepares us for the adventure of raising a child. And, it is an adventure.
    I suppose my dad was my greatest teacher about how I should not get above my raising. He never judged people by social status or wealth. Dad treated everyone the same. I watched him interact many times with all types of people, and each one of those individuals was just as important to him as the next person who crossed his path.
I can remember an incident so vividly from my childhood. Dad was talking about a particular woman who frequently did business with Sparta Planing Mill where my dad worked with his brothers. This woman was what many people considered to be “less than desirable,” as the older folks were notorious for saying. My mom – God rest her soul – could be a little bit of an elitist at times.
Dad happened to mention this woman one night at the supper table – he was talking about how prompt she was when paying her bills. Mom immediately responded by asking why in the world he would even want to be seen talking to this woman. I’ve never forgotten my dad’s response. It went something like this, “Treva, if I were in real trouble, this woman is the type of person I would want to be on my side, because she understands about hard times, and she would stick by me and never dessert me.”
I don’t remember my mother’s reply – probably because she didn’t have any words that were as profound as the ones my dad had just spoken.
As I get older, these words have become even more important to me. Today, I have been reminiscing about many of the people I have known throughout the past several decades. Some of my fondest recollections are about the people I met when I worked at White County Jail. My fellow employees were great, but some of my favorite memories are of inmates’ family members, many of whom I still see today. These individuals still remember my name, and smile each time they see me. I even get a hug and kiss every now and then. More than 30 years later, and they still remember me! Wow! How great is that?!?
So, for those of you who were unsure about what it meant to not get above your raising, now you know. The rest is up to you.

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