Thursday, February 10, 2005

Free to Feed - Part 2

Part 1 ended with a few of the earliest memories of my pre-school years. As I continue, I think a few additional memories will serve the story well.

When I was about 9 or 10, I had an experience that still comes to my mind periodically. I was with my mother and we were watching a World Vision special. I saw on the screen the distended stomachs of the protein deficient children. It was 1972 and the famine was in Tanzania. The time came for a pledge, and I asked if I could give my money to feed the starving children. My mother and I cried together, and we gave my small fortune to the poor in Africa.

These images of starving children stuck in my mind for many years and affected greatly the passions of my adolescent years.

Another experience that I remember from my childhood was attending sporting events. My father had 50 yard line season tickets to USC football. Our seats were literally on the aisle of the 50 yard line. I remember the exact place we would park our car and then walk about a half mile to the stadium. I loved this Saturday afternoon ritual. We saw OJ Simpson, Anthony Davis, Lynn Swan, Charles White. Ricky Bell and all the great USC stars. We went to the Rose Bowl games against Michigan and Ohio State inthe '70s. I even went back to Notre Dame to see USC-Norte Dame games.

My father was a jogger and I remember when I was quite young, about 8 or so, rising early before school to go running with my dad. Early in life, I learned to love the intoxicating effect of hard work.

As I write this story, I realize that two influences seem to define my early childhood. On one hand, there is the success of my father in both business and athletics and our camaraderie around both watching and playing sports. The quest for excellence would become and still is a great joy in my life. I associate a challenge to improve myself with relationship with my father. Though early in life my father was emotionally distant and our relationship indeed did center around excellence and achievement, later in life and even today, we have learned to have loving relationship in both success and failure. In contrast to this very masculine relationship with my father, stands the nurture and giving nature of my mother. From my mother, it seems, I learned the Moral Beauty of self-sacrifice and the joy of giving. Though as the story progresses my mother’s needs will surface, at this point, I can see that I inherited a healthy love of excellence from my father and a moral standard for giving and sacrifice from my mother.

God Bless

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