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Mom & Pop Joe Were Wiser Than I Knew

By Joey Havens

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I’m enjoying eating dinner with my Mom and Dad (Pop Joe). We have ordered bar-b-que plates and yes, we are eating before 6 p.m. It’s a blessing to have them both in good health and enjoying life at this later stage in life. As we visit, laughter fills the room as we recall some special memories.

We’re listening to an exciting Ole Miss baseball game that has gone into extra innings. Pop Joe mentions a pitcher playing well and suggests that now would be a good time for the coach to put him in.  

Well, just as Pop Joe recommends this move, Coach Bianco calls to the bullpen and puts the pitcher in. Looking at each other, we giggle but something else has struck me as a revelation.  

Had I only been as smart as Coach Bianco to listen to Pop Joe when I was younger! Reflecting on my youth, it is evident that Mom and Pop Joe were a lot wiser than I thought they were.

Some truths withstand the test of time, regardless of how hard we try to make them insignificant or irrelevant. Here are three “truths” my parents shared with me over 40 years ago that still ring true today.    

Hard work never hurt anyone! Being relevant today is hard work. Leading is hard work. Being a lifelong learner is hard work. Collaborating is hard work. Hard work makes a difference and separates us from being average or invisible. 

Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right. It also didn’t mean that we got to do it. I am thankful for that now. Understanding our values can keep us from making the mistakes that the crowd may make. 

Pray and seek God’s will first and everything else will work out fine. I probably ran from this one the most because I focused on what Joey wanted. Seeking God’s direction is always the right direction.   

These are just three short but powerful insights that I was blessed to receive regularly from Mom and Pop Joe. Other than the fact that Ole Miss lost in the bottom of the 12th, this was a wonderful experience to share time with my parents. What truths did you learn from your parents or mentors? Reflecting on them can help us at many of the crossroads we face today.  

Here we are last week celebrating Mom and Pop Joe’s incredible 65 years of marriage. Mike, Mitzi and I were truly blessed with the best.