It was the second Friday in November; my daughter Nicole had come to visit me in the office. Although she lives in Annapolis, she still gets her hair cut in Timonium. Smart as a whip, on the quiet side, she has like all of my children made me so proud. While I have tried so hard to give her and her siblings words of wisdom to stand the test of time, I often wondered if anyone was listening – I was wrong, dead wrong as she proceeded to give me a belated birthday present (delayed by shipping). In any event, Nicole went through everything I had ever written (which included a long list of blogs and President’s Letters as well as gifts Sue and I had given her upon graduation from High School) and proceeded to take out the key phrases. These phrases were then printed on individual cards (size of a business card) with the company “WJOE” (the symbolic radio station that’s on the air live 24/7 from greater downtown Timonium) – “broadcasting positive thoughts of faith, hope and love”. As I held Nicole and thanked her tears came to my eyes. An hour later, with the thoughts still fresh in my mind, Sue and I headed off to Somerset PA (not far from the Flight 93 National Memorial) to attend a wedding the next day of the son of one of my former Penn State team mates.
The wedding ceremony and reception were beautiful. Weddings are a time when we pause to reflect back to a time when we first met our spouse and relive the moment all over vicariously through the couple taking their vows. So young, so beautiful, so very much in love full of hope and dreams. Perhaps it was the moment, I’m not really sure, put as the Pastor spoke, his words found roots inside of me. As he talked about marriage of the young couple, he reminded us all of the world we live into today that is so focused on the development of the mind and the body. With regard to the mind, as students, we are all trying to get “good grades”, make the “Dean’s List” and get our various degrees with honors. It never ends, as we advance in our careers, the emphasis turns to being good at what we do and maximizing our earnings. Sound familiar? The mind aside, we can’t escape society’s influence on our appearance, starting with being in good shape, looking as best, wearing attractive clothing, etc. At this point I began to wonder where the Pastor was going and then he “hit it out of the park” like Babe Ruth pointing to the centerfield fence blasting a home run in the 1926 World Series for little Johnny Sylvester who seriously ill and hospitalized. Mind and body aside the Pastor said, what are we doing as a society to develop “the soul” of our children? He then shared his observation that many parents don’t even know what to do when asked this question. There is no “preset plan” with targets, milestones and accolades. At this point I thought back of my own life, the triumphs, the accomplishments, the disappointments, the dreams, and what I had learned along the way towards becoming a man. What had I taught my own children, not only through my example, through my words, my deeds, and through my silence when in hindsight I should have stood up and spoken? I thought back to just the day before when Nicole had given me a gift that would leave any parent speechless.
Webster’s defines “the soul” as the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever. It is a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature and still further is the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc. To me, a person’s heart and soul go hand-in-hand. While our soul can in a certain sense define who we are, perhaps even more importantly, explain why we do what we do. Whether it be when we teach our children about the joy of giving, caring for those less fortunate, praying for and forgiving those who have done us wrong or simply honoring God in our thoughts, deeds and actions, we have as parents, without notice or fanfare, taken steps to develop our children’s soul.
Whatever you do today, always know your children are watching, listening and taking everything in we say, do and do not do; thank you so much Coli for reminding me of this with your heartfelt gift. But even if you don’t have children, you can still have a positive impact on those around you, whether it be friends, co-workers, those you do business with or even with members of your own family. Funny thing is, in casting out positive thoughts of faith, hope and love, you can’t help but getting a little worn off on you, no matter where you are and what you do. The way I see it, being “the best you can be” not only develops our mind and body, it can take us on a spiritual journey to places we can only dream of nurturing our soul along the way. Keeping that in mind, in closing the book on 2014, I wish you and your family a happy, health and prosperous New Year!
Have a great day!!! May God Bless You!!!!
Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)