At 31 years old, I can stand before you, and without solicitation from my parents, tell you that they are proud of me. I know it because they would sit through dance routine after dance routine as I would practice in our living room, or by the artwork that hung in our kitchen from when I was in elementary school until the time they sold their home in 2008. I saw it in their eyes at my college graduation. It was Friday December 13, 2002 in the gym at Georgia Southern. My mom had graduated in the same gym in 1975. I had never seen my parents more proud of anything than they were on that day….until my brother graduated. Even though they filled me up with love and encouragement, they still had more than enough to show my brother. When David went to college, it was as if he took my dad with him to Georgia Tech. It was on David’s graduation day that my proudest moment with dad was trumped by David.
I say all that because last night, as I sat down to an impromptu dinner with Dad at Zaxbys, Dad verbalized how proud he and mom were of me and my brother. And boy, talk about being floored. Words are so powerful. Dad never had to say anything, they have shown me they are proud, but hearing them, even now, makes my eyes fill with tears. To know that through all my years, my mistakes, my stumbles, that my parents still consider me and David their greatest achievement is enough to take anyone’s breathe away.
I think that words and actions go hand in hand. One is not more important than the other. Granted, I do have a passion for words, but I believe that everyone deserves to hear that they are loved. That someone is proud of them, in spite of everything. That they are forgiven. That they need help. Sure, it may be awkward to get the words out, but think of what it could do for the person you say it to, or what it could do to you.
I will never tire of hearing my dad say he is proud of me…
Words are powerful. Don’t forget to use that power.