02/01/2012 - My parents have greatly influenced my life. They have contributed to my character. To them, I am thankful.
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My Mom, bless her heart, has trained me to be considerate and self-¬controlled. At an early age, she taught me that there are better ways of handling conflict than getting in a glue fight with a classmate and there are better ways of handling disappointment than storming out of class because I didn't get the color of paper I wanted. Why, my dear mother helped me pass Kindergarten and the First Grade, two grades I nearly flunked!
While my mom instilled her good manners, my dad instilled in me his fire for life. It makes me f-e-e-e-e-l a stirring moment.
On one occasion, at a sold-out Fourth-of-July rodeo in Cody, this fire in me was glowing. Sitting next to my calm husband, Randy, and our son, Simon (two at the time), I heard the rodeo announcer introduce the next bare back rider, who happened to be from my home town in Montana. Wanting him to ride well, I jumped to my feet, pumped my arms and shouted the name of my home town. Amused, the rodeo announcer commented on my zeal. Still wanting that rider to ride well, I jumped back up, pumped my arms all the harder and shouted as loud as I could. This made the quiet crowd come alive and the rider rode well!
Sometimes it's good to get fired up! Passion is passed on and the moment is made all the better! Sometimes it's not good to get fired up. Bridges can be burned and lives can be destroyed.
When my dad started working on the railroad in 1952, steam engines were still being used. Coal was placed over the glowing ambers to keep the fire hot and the steam coming. Mail, lumber, food, clothing and household goods came to towns thanks to an ever-glowing, well-contained fire.
According to Noah Webster in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the sense for the word fire is "to rush, to rage". The fire of passion is alive. It has momentum. With it, we get somewhere. Goals are met. Dreams are fulfilled. People's lives are touched.
At the same time, if we are not careful, this fire of passion can get out of hand. It can consume our waking hours, consume our better judgment, consume our health and consume our family life.
Don't be alarmed. This fire doesn't need to be put out. It needs to be brought out -- in an unselfish way. That is possible with the virtues of consideration and self-control. And friend, you know where I discovered this combination! (Thanks, Mom and Dad.)