Hold the door, say please, say thank you/Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie/I know you got mountains to climb but always stay humble and kind/When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you/When the work you put in is realized/Let yourself feel the pride but always stay humble and kind. – Sung by Tim McGraw, lyrics by Lori McKenna
Humble and Kind, a song off of country artist Tim McGraw’s newest album Damn Country Music, has been playing regularly on the country music station I prefer when I’m listening to the radio in my car. I want to say two things about this song: First, I literally can’t listen to the song without crying despite the fact that it isn’t a sad song; and second, every time I listen to it – EVERY SINGLE TIME – I think of my mom and dad.
Yesterday was Dad’s birthday. He would have been 90 years old. It was, by the way, also Shakespeare’s birthday (he would have been 452) and one of my good friends, Lynne Scates’ birthday (whose age, even if I knew it, would remain a secret. Suffice it to say, considerably less than 452.)
So yesterday morning, Jen sent me a text. Happy birthday to our dad today. I’ve been thinking about him all month. Send me a favorite memory or thought about Dad today. Mine is riding our bikes out to the cabin once or twice every summer.
I, of course, have lots of good memories of Dad, but my favorite will always be the one about which I have spoken here on this blog before – when I took baby Kaiya to visit him and despite the fact that she ALWAYS cried when others held her, she sat quietly on his lap staring intently at him while he whispered to her. I can’t even write those words without crying.
Anyway, back to Humble and Kind. Mom and Dad taught us lots of things. Mom taught us to cook. Dad taught Dave to bake. They taught us all to love family and football and good food and God, and demonstrated to us the importance of hard work.
But man, if I didn’t remember anything else that mom and dad taught us, I would not forget how they stressed us to be humble and kind.
You’re no better than anyone else, I remember my mother telling me any time she felt that I was getting a little too big for my britches. But she always added, And nobody else is better than you. Her point? We are all equal in the eyes of God.
Their rules were simple. Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie. Just like the words of the song.
Here’s how Jen ended her text: We are the only four people on earth that had him for a dad. That was a blessing.
I would love reactions to this song, and any memories any of you might have of Mom and Dad. I know they read this blog and it would be a great birthday gift to Dad!
Here is Tim McGraw’s performance of the song. And I don’t feel so bad because Tim McGraw said he cried during every take.