After the shooting last week I have been giving much thought to my family. I have two family members (my father and one of my brothers) who are both school teachers so they idea of a school shooting hits home. Add that to the growing number of babies in my families life (one born last fall, one due in a few weeks, and one due next year) it has been a particularly emotional ride for me. I love my family very much, even if I am not as close to them as I would like to be.
I come from a large family of six kids all by the same two wonderful parents. My father and mother both worked much of my youth and us children were able to experience and understand responsibility from a young age. I am the oldest and I think this lesson may have hit me the hardest, though I can’t really guarantee that because knowing how my siblings really experienced our youth is impossible. Regardless, I have always felt a strong drive to protect and provide, as well as express my individuality as much as possible.
While my family was Christian conservative we were still encouraged to think for ourselves and our house was filled with books on a variety of subjects. The presence of books is something that sticks with me to this day and may have an impact on my near “hoarders” mentality towards books, I usually feel comfortable giving away books but the idea of throwing them away nearly makes me nauseous. On the rare days when I think about having children I imagine having books of every subject available and helping my children read and learn… providing them with the tools to find answers instead of just the answers themselves.
I think I was very lucky how I was raised. I was surrounded by love and support. I may still have disagreements with my family, just like I have disagreements with any adult, but I love them dearly and I owe them much of what I have. My desire to try new things, think for myself, and work towards verifying instead of blindly trusting is due to my parents and siblings. I simply would not be the man I am today without them, and I love who I am today.