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Inspired by Mr. Brehm
50 Benefits of Knowing Great Parents of Friends

Dedicated on this occasion to Mr. Carl Brehm, and also mindful of other great parents of friends.

1. Their wisdom put your worries into perspective.
2. Their example gave you confidence.
3. Their warmth helped you feel secure.
4. Their criticism helped you know they cared about you.
5. Their experience was a source you could tap into.
6. Their calmness relaxed you.
7. Their kind words about you made you feel so proud.
8. They seemed to see the very best in you, sometimes more so than your own parents did.
9. They liked or loved you by their own choice, not because you were their kid.
10. They helped you laugh at some of the things you’d been scared about.
11. They taught you to charge a ground ball, how to make guests feel welcome, how to shift gears smoothly, or how to put together clothes for your outfit.
12. They encouraged you to engage new challenges.
13. They complimented your own parents for the job they did in raising you.
14. You could tell once in a while they treated you just as they treated their own children.
15. They liked having you around, and made you feel valuable.
16. They watched your progress over the years and commented on how well you were coming along.
17. They almost always had an experience they could tell you about for insight – an experience that corresponded to something you were going through.
18. They could afford to let you see them laugh at themselves, when your own parents could not.
19. Most of the time, you didn’t follow their suggestions, but as you look back, you wish you had.
20. You learned a lot about humility when you made them mad or disappointed them, and saw how they held their tongues and let it pass.
21. They always forgave you, and after a problem, things were back to being as great as ever.
22. They had Depression stories that could squeeze the tears out of your heart.
23. They also had some Depression stories they exaggerated a little more at each new telling, and you enjoyed how ridiculous they were. (“Nothing but red beans to eat all winter .. “)
24. They consistently taught you that your own complicated circumstances were a lot simpler than you thought.
25. When you played in a sport, or performed in a play or an orchestra, or went into a restaurant with a date, you’d see these parents of friends looking at you with so much love and approval, you felt like nobody was ever luckier.
26. They would even exaggerate a little (or a lot) for you, insisting you were the best violinist, poet, second baseman or baker of cakes in Orange County.
27. Sometimes you could go to them for advice, without fearing the judgment or blame your own parents might heap on you.
28. Once in a while, they made you feel fantastic by confiding how glad they were that you were their son or daughter’s friend.
29. Sometimes when they didn’t like your mom or dad – and the feeling might be mutual – they still liked you, no mistake about it!
30. By being real flesh and blood people who’ve done great things, like start a successful business or become a doctor, or have a long, successful marriage, they helped you see, yes, maybe I can do it, too.
31. They reminded you not to take a back seat to anyone, and never sell yourself short.
32. Maybe they confided in you that they also had a weakness, a flaw, a disability you had, and that it would not stop you.
33. They could always point out subtle or even obscure things about the adult world that you needed to know and might have missed.
34. They always, always, always encouraged you to be yourself.
35. They remembered your birthdays!
36. They treated your younger siblings with affection and respect even when you didn’t.
37. They taught you the value of slowing down once in a while to appreciate all we have and are given.
38. These fathers treated you, a boy, like a man!
39. These mothers treated you, a girl, like a woman!
40. They brought a fascinating diversity into your life. (They’re from Texas! They’re Baptists, Mormons or Jewish! They don’t watch much TV! They are Democrats! They eat the skins of potatoes!)
41. They took you on a family trip, to Yosemite or Hawaii or the River.
42. Maybe they introduced you to great books, authors, thinkers, or great art, or music.
43. They may have been absolutely unique and unforgettable people, like Dr. Waynard Lowe; Dr. Andreas Rechnitzer; Mr. John Bishop; Mr. Tillman Nix; or Buck Young’s mom.
44. Maybe they taught you to debate and stand up for what you believed in.
45. Maybe they had the best jokes of anyone you ever met, then or now!
46. Maybe they taught you by what they did not say – some of our parent’s friends were great war heroes who never said a word about it.
47. Surely they taught you that love, compassion, character and integrity matter far more than anything else.
48. In times of great crisis like the Cuban Missile Crisis, they modeled for you how a mature adult handles himself.
49. In times of great tragedy like the JFK assassination, they modeled for you how a responsible adult reacts and conducts herself.
50. Years and years later, even if they can’t quite remember your name, they communicate somehow they’re glad to see you again.