"There is no greater thing to be proud of than having pride in one's family. When my mother died thirty years ago, she had no money or property to leave her children as a legacy. Having had seven children, I don't think that before we each started work or left home and started homes of our own, that my parents ever knew one week in the whole of their marriage when this week's food wasn't paid for from next week's wages. And yet, I never once felt deprived during my childhood.
My mother told me when I was in my teens and was the only other bread winner other than dad for the household, 'What we have Billy is all we've got, but what we've got is good enough if we hang onto it!' What she was referring to wasn't money, assets or estate, but the most material thing of all; each other. We may have been short of many things, but we were never lacking in generosity, respect, industriousness, pride or love.
One of the certain things about development, is that if you grow up with these qualities and make them a part of your character, they remain your closest of friends and most faithful of servants forever. My father was a strict and modest man who could be both stubborn and forgiving. My mother, however made the greatest impression on me, and as where my dad might seek to hide his deficiencies, my mum would never be afraid to show herself to the world; she would simply be herself in all company, whatever anyone thought of her. Her honesty of expression and generosity of spirit instantly endeared her to every person she ever met. Though she died in her early sixties, her sheer love of life made her live every day as though it was her last.
She once told me that family was all that mattered when the day was done and dusted. She was so right. When she died, mum left me the greatest inheritance of all; six brothers and sisters, along with the knowledge that she loved me and all my brothers and sisters every day of her life. I know that to be so, as never one day passed when she didn't tell us so.
My dad never had the advantage of a proper education and started work at the age of twelve/thirteen, but what he lacked in academic achievement, he more than made up for in modesty, football skills, sheer industriousness and a love of family. Like Mark Twain, when I was fourteen, I sometimes found my dad impossible to understand, but then when I got to twenty one I was surprised how much the old man had learned in seven years.
Every family will have its fair share of fall outs and its times of heartbreaking experiences, but if you are fortunate enough to be part of a loving family, you will find everything forgivable and will see beauty where others notice flaws in your siblings. No family will ever prove itself a perfect unit. Good men, thieves, lovers, scholars, rouges and writers will happen in every family in every three generations. Knock upon any door in your street, accost any stranger in the land, select a name from any telephone book and you will find that all have had family at some time or other and all families have known their pain and pleasure. It is only when we stop having each other in our lives that one is left with nothing of substance to pass on to the next generation.
Home and family is what makes us the most wanting when we are far away from them.That is why wise men and women always keep them in their heart." William Forde: September 2nd, 2016.