Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | August 17, 2015

Smart Things My Parents Did – Simple pleasures and sustaining faith

Today’s post is part of the “Smart Things My Parents Did” blog series and is written by guest writer Susan Brese. Thank you, Susan, for sharing this parenting gift with us!

When I think back to my childhood, I realize that our home was peaceful, centered on family, full of laughter, and that “Christ was the head of the house.” We even had a plaque with that phrase on it. It was a place of safety and contentment.

I don’t think I am exaggerating. My parents did not argue; if there were disagreements, I surely did not hear them. They called each other “Hon” and usually parted with a kiss. I usually tried to get to the window and wave goodbye when Dad would back out the driveway.

My dad had a car dealership, and would come home for lunch almost every day, go back to work, then come home for dinner and a 10-minute nap, and back to the dealership until closing time. Exceptions were usually his different church meetings, and there were lots of those. Even that was a “smart” impression to leave his kids.

Dad had a business brain, and used it to help the church at large. I could see how important it was to him that our legacy of faith would continue to the next generation. He was instrumental in the purchase and beginning of Camp Pioneer as well as the start-up of Martin Luther School.

I was fortunate to be in the first grade at Martin Luther School, but it only went up to 4th grade the first year, adding a grade yearly. My brother Dick missed that opportunity by 2 years. I appreciate the gift of that Lutheran education; the hymns and Bible memorization and catechism studies, as well as having Christian teachers and friends, was a wonderful foundation. My mom too was very involved, especially with the school. Another “smart” impression.

My parents did not try to amuse me all the time; yet I was never bored. They gave me freedom to play in the neighborhood, gone hours ‘til a meal time. Of course it was a safer world then.

Our back yard always had kickball paths worn down in the grass. We played every game we could learn and think of. When alone, I’d play 7-up against the chimney, for hours.

I walked alone to the library, probably 20 blocks. I walked alone to my swimming lessons at UB, probably a mile and a half; I took a bus from school to the orthodontist starting in 7th grade, then took 3 buses home. It taught me independence and that I was trusted.

We all took pleasure in playing cards. My parents and friends would just fill the house with laughter, especially men against the ladies playing hearts. They’d keep a running score.

Vacations we took as a family. A favorite spot was in the Kawartha lakes….swimming, great food, water skiing, much laughter…and lots of fishing. I learned to bait my own worm hook when I was 7.

Also when I was 7, my Christmas gift was a piano…and that became a huge part of my life; still is. Mom also played piano, and Dad played hymns with me during the TV commercials!

And of course worship. We went to church every week, every Lenten service, any special service, and our church family was another place of safety. As a teenager I spent a lot of time with our Walther League church group.

So, my answers to the “smart” things my parents did are really the simple pleasures of life and the sustaining faith in the Giver of Life. It’s been fun for me thinking of those early years.


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