My Dad, who has been gone now 58 years, often told me "He that tooteth not his own horn, his horn shall not be tooteth."
I was never quite sure what the lesson was supposed to be. He was out-going and well liked, and successful in the insurance agency he founded sometime soon after World War I. But he never bragged or showed off about any of that. Was he telling me that tooting oneself was a good or bad thing; that hiding your light under a bushel is wrong. You need to participate, to be out there, to be counted. You need to toot.
As I sit here and look at his picture on my desk, taken when he was, perhaps, fifty, he is forty years younger than I am now. Yet the words from that young head still resonate in this old head, and they instructed me to be whoever I am.
I caught up with a young man on Facebook this week. We had worked together for the community's benefit, and I told him what good memories I had of the projects we tackled together, and that I still am concerned about the world around me, especially the world of Columbus, Ohio. His lovely response was that he was not surprised about my focus on the world because, he said, you were always "other-centered."
My Dad would be happy to know that Brad Quicksall had tooted my horn, for me, and that I am tooting it forward, for all of you who try and care and strive to make your community a better place.
Our words to our children are never lost. Whether they are heeded or not, they are there, in their heads.
Kind of scary, isn't it?