Love and Respect–Our Family’s Cycle

In the Old Testament’s book of Genesis, Noah was the tenth and last of the biblical patriarchs. He was chosen by God as the only righteous man of his time and is known infamously as the hero of the Flood story (2,000-10,000 BCE). The name Noah peaked in 2016 when nearly 20,000 newborn babies were named Noah — more than at any other time in the last century. Noah was the number one name given to boys born in the United States between 2013 and 2016. Our Noah was born on April 2, 2015, making him seven and a half years old at Christmas time this year. He’s the son of Tony and Megan, the grandson of Jeff and Penny, and the great-grandson of Bob and Joanne.

Our family’s Noah is truly a blessing from God. His temperament demonstrates the purity of his heart. Most of the time he is: smiling; respectful; freely giving of himself; shares with others; intentionally aims to make others happy; is always at the ready to help; and, easily forgives, even those who might not deserve it.

There is no doubt that Noah has an old soul with wisdom beyond his years. All of this does not mean that he is perfect or that he does not sometimes have an off day. Like us all, he does. On Christmas Eve one year ago, Noah spent his day baking cookies at his grandparents’ house with his cousins of similar ages–a continuing and annual tradition at the home of our son and daughter-in-law. Each child takes pride in choosing just the right cookie-cutter shape and when baked, creates his or her own icing toppings and designs. Noah is no exception and sets off with great intentions by selecting an angel cookie-cutter. After cutting their designs into the dough, the young children wait anxiously for them to bake. Noah’s golden-brown angel cookie comes out looking great. After it cools, he delicately frosts its wings white and splashes them with silver glitter. Immediately upon finishing his cookie, he leaves the table with it, does not show the cookie to anyone, and goes to find his “pap,” Jeff.

While the women and children made cookies in the kitchen, Pap watched television in the living room. Noah approached him with the freshly made cookie hidden behind his back and said, “Here, Pap, this is for Granddaddy Frank who passed away.” Jeff was initially taken aback, but he soon recovered, thanked Noah, and expressed gratitude for the cookie gift. Noah had just melted Big Pap’s heart. Incredibly, Noah was just five years old on August 22, 2020, when his GG-Grandaddy, Frank Burton Boling passed away. Yet, during those five years, Noah and Pap visited Granddaddy Frank sporadically, usually for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. In spite of this, Noah absorbed like a sponge the love and respect he saw between his Pap, Jeff, and his GG-Granddaddy Frank. Noah often brings up GG-Granddaddy Frank to Pap and they talk about the good times Pap and his grandfather spent with each other. A picture of GG-Grandaddy Frank and GG-Grandmother, Norma hangs in Pap’s family room.

Pap, our son Jeff, melts my heart, too, when he freely shares his respect and love with our family’s younger generations. Moreover, Jeff serves as an example to Noah and all our other family members about the importance and strength of family relationships that are based on love and respect. It is clear from Noah’s interactions with Jeff that he loves his grandfather just as much as his Pap loves him. And, both know that certain things are important to them like activities and alone time that is intended as special moments just for the two of them. I couldn’t have asked for more love than these two have for each other and for sometimes including me, too!

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