Family Expectations And Success - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at - 172693

Put the Kettle on....

Family Expectations and Success 
May 1, 2010 6:27 am 
Updated: May 3, 2010 9:29 am
I work in the same high school I graduated from 30 (Gasp!) years ago.  Many of the students there now are the children of people I knew either from my high school days or my brother or sisters'.  This past week I received a phone call from a woman needing her high school transcript.  When she gave me her name, I could not believe it - she was one of my teammates and very good friends who I had lost touch of after graduation! 

She made arrangements to come in the next day to pick up her transcript.  I was really excited to see her.  In high school I played basketball, ran track and was one of two girls who started the girls cross-country team at our school.  This friend was an outstanding athlete and we spent much time together during high school.  After graduation, though, we lost touch going our separate ways - raising a family in my case and caring for a very ill mother in hers. 

When she arrived in my office I knew who she was immediately - she looked exactly the same!  She had a stack of photos from various times during our friendship that was so much fun to look at and remember all the good times!  We spent over an hour "catching up" and exchanging e-mails so we can stay in touch now. 

My husband was out of town most of this week, so that night when I got home I had plenty of time to reflect on how my life has turned out.  I married my high school sweetheart at age 20 and we are still married.  Most people were sure we wouldn't make it because we were so young.  I think when you find your soul-mate, it doesn't matter what age you are - you know when you find that certain someone.  I was fortunate to find mine at such a young age.

Four years after we were married we started our family.  Neither of us have a college degree, though I did graduate from business college.  We don't make a lot of money, but we get by on what we have.  Our children always had everything they needed and a lot of the things they wanted.  Some said they were spoiled.  I disagree.  Anything "above and beyond" that they had they earned by helping out and doing chores.  Yes - my children had chores. No - they did not get an allowance.  Chores were things that were simply expected to be done because they were a part of the family.  They cleaned their rooms, put away their clothes, vacuumed, mowed the grass, did dishes, cared for pets. 

I expected my children to be polite and respectful to their elders.  They called their friends parents "Mr. or Mrs. So and So".  They learned please and thank you, and excuse me.  They did not interrupt.  I didn't tell my children they were wonderful just because they did their homework or cleared the table. They knew they wouldn't always be first, or the best; hard work would bring that reward.  They were wonderful when they surprised me by doing something more than what was expected.  They learned right from wrong.  They knew when mom and dad said "No", that meant "No" and they'd best not argue about it; they knew they wouldn't change our mind.  Neither one of us - we were a united front. 

I know people that consider themselves far more successful than I.  Some of these people are my friends.  They make more money and have fancier "things".  All fine and good for them, if that's what makes them happy.  They also are the same people who complain their children never visit, or their children are "failures" because they aren't doing what they think they should be doing. 

I have one friend who's daughter doesn't go to visit her grandmother because it's boring there and Grandma is old.  How sad!  My children stop to visit their grandparents whenever they get the chance.  My parents live on the way to my son's college so whenever he comes home he always stops in on his way to and from school.  When my dad had open heart surgery, my son stopped in every time he went by on his way to go snowboarding to shovel grandpa's walk or go buy their dog food or do anything else that needed to be done.  My daughter works in the same city they live, so she often stops to visit after work.  When I will mention this to my friend, she'll say "How much do you pay them to do that?" 

I look back to what we expected from our children as members of the family and our expectations were far different from those friends' expectations. 

I know everyone views success differently, and there are different levels of success from financial success to athletic success.   To me, you cannot measure success with how much money you have made; but rather it is measured by happiness.  If what you have done in your life has made you content and happy then you have achieved success.  I see my children growing into kind and caring adults and I know I have achieved the highest level of success!
May 1, 2010 6:39 am
Amen, Amen....a very well written blog. It's funny, but all of my friends from school always have pictures of their kids and when it comes to be my turn, I just get the "look" because I chose not to have any. But you sound like your kids were brought up right and to be respectful, that's how we were raised, all nine of us. We weren't paid to anything around the house, it was just expected. It sounds like you have had a very successful life! Thanks for writing this blog!!
May 1, 2010 6:45 am
WW - my oldest sister also has no children, by choice, and I consider her to be very successful. She is content and happy with her life and her dogs (all 5 of them, they are her children) She gets that "look" a lot. In going back and reading my blog it sort of sounds like I think you need to have children to be successful. That's not what I meant - I meant if you are content with what you've done with your life than you have been successful. In my case it was have kids!
May 1, 2010 6:59 am
You hit the nail right on the head with this one, Ann! My brothers and sisters and I were all raised in the same manner. It's what I know, so my daughter is raised with manners and respect too. We don't have a husband like to remind me of something I once told him when he asked "Are you still happy with me, honey?" I replied, "I'd be happy living on a creek bank with a tent and fishing pole if it meant I got to share it with you."
May 1, 2010 7:02 am
1gdcowgrl - How funny you say you'd be happy living on a creekbank with your husband! We do live on a creekbank, though in a house, not a tent! LOL.
May 1, 2010 7:16 am
That is funny,LOL! And for the record, it still holds true for me today.
May 1, 2010 7:32 am
You are truly successful in my book, Mother Ann!
May 1, 2010 8:27 am
Ann...I did not get that from your blog at all that you have to have children to be successful...what I got from it is that if you do, and they grow up like yours, then that is one of life's successes!! I think that whatever one chooses to do in life, as long as you put your heart into it and it all comes out to your satisfaction in the long run...that's what you use to measure your success and you, my friend, should be awfully proud of yours!! xoxoxo
May 1, 2010 8:47 am
Awww... thank you WW! What you said is exactly what I was trying to say. I'm just not as good with words as you! :-)
May 1, 2010 11:06 am
I still think we are twins separated at birth with the same name. We've already established our kids are the same. And like you, I've raised 4 in exactly the same way you have. I've always had people tell me what great kids I have and how polite they are. That is a reflection on me and I gladly accept it. The difference between us, you have had a partner to help you. I've been without since 2001 and have had to do this on my own. Not an easy task.
May 1, 2010 2:34 pm
Ann, I so enjoyed your blog and your success story!!! You are far more successful than many others with much more material possessions! You have the most valuable "product" of all, happy, healthy, conributing citizens of this world! Congrats on being a wonderful parent! Too many, these days try to be their child's best friend instead of a parent and that is always a mistake. Keep up the good work and they will continue to make you and us proud!!
May 1, 2010 4:55 pm
Avon - you may be right! LOL! I commend you for doing it on your own - I'm not so sure I could have done it. I can't even imagine how difficult that must be at times. Grannygigi - you are so right! I always told my kids I wasn't their friend, I was their mom.
May 1, 2010 8:25 pm
Sounds like you have wonderful children and a great husband! I'm sure they feel the same way about you. :D
May 3, 2010 5:44 am
{{Hugs}} to you! I know exactly where you are coming from.... ♥
May 3, 2010 6:58 am
Mother Ann, your family is very lucky to have parents who take the time to instill virtues as you have taught them!!! Now a days you get the parents who don't participate in their children's life let alone their upbringing! I am proud tobe one of those "mom's" who you can always count on to be at every practice and every game cheering on every child because most parents are to busy to take a break from a cell phone and say "good job!" Your spreading the so called wealth including all!!!
May 3, 2010 9:29 am
Isn't it sad how many parents just don't care to make the time for their kids? I enjoyed every minute of my children growing up and their activities. My son ended up injured (stress fracture in his leg) so his college baseball season ended very early on. He'll be ready for summer ball and so will I! We always had to have a mini-van so we could haul the other kids around since their parents didn't do it.
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

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About Me
I've been married for 33 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have two black labs that get to go duck hunting with dad and two cats. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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