Wedding Vows

Did you notice the recurrence of the word always? I challenge you to come up with anything that today’s adult vows he/she will always do. Do you think maybe this world is skidding off track now and then because everyone is trying to do it alone? Huh? Maybe we can connect those dots. Marriage has lost its footing because people have lost their purpose. C’mon guys, this isn’t that complicated.

Remember Kevin Costner as Elliott Ness in The Untouchables? As he digs into his lunch bag, he finds a note his wife has left him. He reads it, smiles, and says to the rookie cop next to him, “It’s good to be married, isn’t it?” Remember young Vito Corleone in The Godfather II when his friend points out the girl he is in love with. “Look at her, Vito,” he says. “Isn’t she beautiful?” Vito responds, “For you, she is beautiful; for me, I have my wife.” Do you think it is a coincidence that both those films refer to earlier times? I don’t. The honor and sanctity of marriage and commitment spoke volumes about the character of a family.

Character

Both my grandparents were married until death, and each endured the Depression among many other challenges. My mom’s father, Pasquale, was an iceman in the summer and a coalman in the winter. When modern heating and cooling put him out of business, he went to barber college and learned a trade at 42. He cut his last head about a week before he died at 83. My dad’s father, Henry, worked in the steel mills until his retirement that included opening a poolroom that he had been saving for his whole life. They worked their bodies hard to make ends meet, and when they came home, their wives had a bountiful meal on the table and happy children who loved and respected the hardworking man that Dad was.

I recall both my parents remembering that their fathers would walk in the house, one covered in coal dust, the other in foundry dust, and they would go straight to the bathroom, wash up, put on a clean white pressed shirt and then come down for dinner. My friends, if you don’t see the beauty in that, you are blind.

Last year my son had Grandparents Day at school. In his class seven grandparents were there. Four of them were his. The men wore ties and the grandmas brought cookies for the whole class. Sam’s buttons were bursting with pride, and more than a few of his buddies told him how lucky he was. Sam already knew.

Character

Here’s the formula. At the root of all that is good, there is family. At the root of all family that is strong, there is commitment. At the root of commitment is sacrifice, and that sacrifice is a way of life that must be taught. If we continue to lead and live in such a sloppy, self-centered manner, how can we expect our children to make the world a better place? When the family is whole and strong, this country can move mountains.

I quote John Kennedy in regards to the urgency of rectifying this recent state of marriage in our country: “The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. Lyautey replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!’”

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He can be reached via e-mail at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com

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