Forty eight years ago today Tom and Joyce Harvey welcomed me, their fourth child into their lives. I joined two brothers who were almost 15 & 14 years old, and a sister that would turn 12 exactly one week later. Usually when someone hears the age difference they respond with “oops!” Needless to say, I’ve taken plenty of teasing over the years about being a mistake but my parents never relented on the fact that I was planned.
I’m not sure if they were telling me the truth or not, but their adherence to the statement made me believe it. That was just one of the many things they did to anchor me and set me on a proper course for life. I don’t think they ever read a book on parenting or discipline. I know they didn’t go to any seminars or workshops. They were common people using common sense and relying an uncommon God.
Two posts ago I talked about needing a new story for my family. I notice I often think and talk about intentionality. But as I reflect on my parents today, they didn’t seem to do anything on purpose…or did they? Supper together at the table every night, church attendance every week, and Sunday afternoon rides every time they felt like it were staples in our schedule.
Of course you know they weren’t perfect. They made plenty of mistakes. They even admitted it a couple times.
They handed me a good name and shaped my identity in spite of their shortcomings. I remember asking the question, “Why?” a number of times in those early adolescent years. “Why couldn’t I do this or that? Why can’t I go here or there?” My dad’s answer was often the same after each question, “Because you are a Harvey.” Translation: you’re different and what may be ok for some is not ok for you…not ok for us.
Both my folks are gone now. My dad passed away suddenly when I was 16. My mom died after a long battle with cancer in 1994. However, their influence continues. And all along the way I have been aware of God’s faithfulness to guide and influence me through other people He’s placed in my life.
My greatest birthday gift is the wealth of people God has put in my life. I am who I am because of my parents, siblings, children, family and close friends. While I’m grateful for that…I am counting on your continued influence because I am not yet who I want to be.