My lifelong friend, Jeannette Pirela,  has graciously agreed to write a post for I Love Being A Dad. I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do.

It’s what you do that counts!!!!!

“For only as we ourselves, as adults, actually move and have our being in the state of love, can we be appropriate models and guides for our children.  What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.”  Joseph Chilton Pearce

As fathers, mothers, adults we should always be striving to leave a positive mark on those around us by our actions.  Many years down the road as it is for me, the things I most remember are my parents’ way of being, of how they not only interacted with me – but how they interacted with the world.  It influences how I interact, how I solve problems.

I have three adult children; a son (33), a daughter (31), and my youngest, a daughter (28).  The one that is most like me in interacting with the world is my son, although I can often catch a glimpse of me in the girls from time to time, my son mirrors me the most.  I see it mostly in the way he handles situations.  He is very resourceful – definitely an independent thinker.  The first time I noticed this, he was about 12.  I left the children so I could run to the store.  He was 12; the other two were 10 and 7.  The weather was ominous and I was a little apprehensive about leaving them but thought for sure I’d be back in no time.  While I was out the sky turned very dark and the winds picked up.  It was obvious that a storm was brewing.  When I left the children were watching TV.  I’m guessing that an alert must have come across the TV that a tornado was in the area.  When I heard the news flash on the radio I immediately headed for home.   I arrived home, went charging into the house and started calling out for them, I didn’t get a response.  Of course I looked in their rooms but no discovery.  By then I started to panic and ran downstairs calling for them.  My son then popped out of the bathroom with his sisters in tow.  The girls were crying and I’m sure my son was scared too.  He told me that they heard that a  tornado was coming and he knew that he needed to get away from the windows and seek shelter so we took the girls into the downstairs bathroom, instructed them to get in the bathtub and he provided blankets for cover.   I was so proud of him at that moment.   Although he himself was scared he had the mindset to protect and provide for his sisters using the knowledge he had gained and a little bit of ingenuity.

When it was time for him to go off to college, I of course was a nervous wreck.  Here was my first born child preparing to leave the nest.  Right away I started analyzing my parenting skills, questioning whether I did enough to prepare him for that day. I always knew he would go to college (just as my mother had determined that I would go) but selecting a school was a challenge.  After visiting a few schools, we decided on Tuskegee University.  On the drive from Maryland to Alabama my son noticed that we changed time zones.  Very calmly he asked “Mommy, you know that we are now in another time zone?” as if to say, you’re going leave me HERE????

After arriving and getting everything set up I calmly asked if it was ok to leave him there.  I think we both were a little apprehensive but he said YES.  He wasted no time making friends (most he still keeps in contact with).  He was able to work out his living situation, pay his rent and on his own found the necessary resources so he could eat every day.  My heart was never so happy as I saw him grow and thrive right before my very eyes.  I was always nervous about him.  I often say that “he is my plodder”.  He’s steady and determined.  He had a very hard major with, unfortunately, little support from the administration (he majored in architecture which is a 5 year program).  During the course of his program, he had trouble with one of his subjects.  He winded up taking the class three times and one of those times was during the summer before he was scheduled to graduate.  He did all the research into how many credits he would get and if they would transfer over.  Then about 4 weeks before graduation his advisor told him he would not be able to graduate because he was short one (1) credit!!!!!!  He proceeded to talk to a number people about the issue.  He had all his paperwork concerning the transfer and everything.  A few weeks before the graduation date, I kept calling him asking whether he would graduate on time because I needed to make the arrangements to get there and be prepared to take his things home.  Finally he called and said yes, he would graduate on time.!!!!.  When he walked across that stage I could have cried a river – HE DID IT!!!!!  I finally felt that I had accomplished something.  There were three things I always stressed to my children:  (1) “perseverance is a good trait”, (2) Be ye kind one to another” and (3) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  Incidentally, that is my son’s favorite Bible verse – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”……The  reason I know that is because about a year ago he came home displaying, of all things,  a tattoo with that very verse.




  • Jeannette, I appreciate your story. It’s nice to see an example of a son coming into his own as an adult, because of the example that you lead in taking on your responsibilities. Many times we hear about young men having the lack of positive male figures in their life and the damage that it causes them. But you show that as a parent, mother, father, single, married, whatever, your take on responsibility impacts all of your kids and will serve as the blueprint they use to navigate through life.

  • Jeannette- what an awesome expression of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Thanks to your steadfastness and preseverance you put your son in a great position to “pass the torch”

  • Great post. The joys and tribulations of parenting. There are no do overs. Sometimes I’m proud and sometimes I would give anything to go back and change some things now that I’ve lived long enough to know better. Long enough to understand what’s really important and other things not so important after all. But it’s never too late to say “I love you and support you and I can still whip yo a** if I really put my mind to it. Yeah that’s it. That’s my truth and I’m sticking with it. Have a blessed day😄

  • I can testify to the effectiveness of Jeanette’s parenting. All three children are awesome in so many ways. As for the oldest, I would choose him to marry my daughter.

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