If there's one simple bit of advice that can stand the test of time it might be "Never, ever take anyone or anything for granted." Especially your parents! Keep in mind that beside your "Real Deal Relationship" we wrote about last week your parents should truly be special people in your life.
I must say that I am not speaking here for people who have had a great deal of difficulty interacting with their parents as children or adults. I have heard many young people say nasty things about their parents as they were growing up. Likewise I have known parents who have said nasty things about their children. I'm sure there are two sides to each of those stories. I also know many adults that have severed relationships with a Mom or Dad. That being said, we will be dealing with the positive, nurturing, caring parents in this world, which I'm assuming make up the majority of parents.
I always considered myself blessed to have parents who truly loved me and always put my best interests before their very own. My parents were used to sacrificing on a daily basis, in order to keep their children comfortable, secure, healthy and happy. Their needs and wants were always put on a back burner, in order to give their children the best that they could afford. And the word afford was not based on credit card limits or cash advances in those days, but strictly based on how much cash they were able to save - a couple dollars at a time - from working hard and long hours.
My parents were honest, caring individuals who lived in a city and knew how to save better than anyone I've ever known. Neither of them drove a car during the nine decades they each lived. They never owned a credit card and my Mom was in her eighties before she even opened a checking account. If they did not have the cash-in-hand to purchase something, they did without it.
Dad set a great example by paying his bills in person on the day after he received them in the mail. On an Credit Rating scale of 1-1000 with one being the BEST my parents would probably have scored a "1" during their entire life, for their ability to pay their commitments well before they were due.
Great parents somehow always seem to be around when you really need them. They don't have to be begged to help you in a time of need. However, they also want to make sure they don't become a permanent crutch that keeps you from standing on your own. Great parents know how to let their children mature, become independent, and share their love with people other than themselves. Just love and respect them and their world belongs to you unconditionally.
I can go on for several more paragraphs describing my parents, who I considered to be GREAT. And I'm sure that many who read this article can identify with what I have written, regarding their own parents. However, at this point I want to go back to my premise in paragraph one. That being why you should never take your parents for granted. I am now addressing those that have great parents who are still alive and well. A lesson to be learned and reminded of is "your parents will not be around forever." Since we all know this fact to be true, it behooves every child to make a concerted effort to cherish your loving relationship with your Mom and Dad while you still have the opportunity to do so. Even though my parents lived to be 90, that was not long enough for me. Making them proud and happy was a personal mission for me. There wasn't any task too demanding or difficult that would stand in the way of my mission.
With that in mind, I would like to suggest that you do all you can to make your own parents proud and happy. Always show them the respect that they so justly have earned. Great parents never want anything in return from their children, in exchange for their decades of sacrifice and kind deeds. They only want to know that their children are healthy, happy and secure as they lead decent and honorable lives. Remind them often that you are doing OK and be generous with hugs and caring words that will make their day. Parents really are Special....take the time to remind your parents often, how special they are to you!