Risk & Associates County Civil - May 2020


MAY 2020

The Woman Who Made Sure My Life Changed Course


N ow that it’s May, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share how proud I am of my mother’s accomplishments and legacy in my family. I’ve shared before that, in my youth, I was quite the little delinquent, so I wasn’t anything close to a mama’s boy as a kid. But she helped turn me around. She truly shaped and changed me in ways nobody else knew how to. Knowing what I put her through in those early days, I’m still amazed she never gave up on me, not once. I think it’s important to preface this story with a bit of background. My mother grew up during the tail end of the Great Depression and World War II — plus, in a poor family with 11 other kids — so there were many things about her upbringing that challenged her. First, she was a hard worker from the start. As a kid, she and her siblings would take a wagon and collect scrap metal for the war efforts. Second, as was common back in the 50s, she dropped out of high school. But my mom, being as hardworking as she is, never stopped learning. There was always a book in her hands. Newspaper, novel, textbook, it could’ve been anything; she would read it. I don’t know how she made time for all of us while growing up. With four kids in the house, she had a lot to juggle, and I know

my antics were constantly pushing her. One day, I can’t recall what the fight was about, but I do clearly remember the moment that I was struck with empathy for her. It was a moment that helped me change everything around. She was very emotional and strained, and told me: “I hope that one day, you have a child just like you.” It wasn’t meant in a complimentary way, either. Then, I knew: I couldn’t have kids like me. At least, not in the state that I was back then. My mom never gave up on me, though. I knew she only said that because she knew one thing better than anyone else: I always felt bad for what I did. A dose of tough love was all it took for me to turn to a career in law enforcement. As a parent of three sons, I definitely got lucky; under certain instances, I see a bit of myself in each of them, but none of them took the tough road I did as a teenager. I’m very grateful for that. As a parent and a grandparent, I try my best to be patient and understand. No matter how young they are, it’s good to keep your communication open and try to remember what it was like when you were that age. Because, ultimately, I try to explain to them that they don’t want regrets. When people do terrible things they know are bad, they grow to truly regret those things. I tell them

they should aim to become good people so they can minimize their regrets throughout their lifetime. Nobody’s perfect, but we should always work hard to be better every single day. My mother loved and supported me, no matter what; she also kept me accountable. That’s why I get peeved sometimes when people say “I made a bad choice,” versus “I made a bad decision.” The word “choice” is often used to lighten the fact that it was a conscious decision. I think it’s important that people understand their decisions and tell others they’re aware of them. Mothers can give us incredible guidance throughout our lives. Although she isn’t with us anymore, I know I’m a better, wiser person every day because of the support my mother gave me. Remember, your decisions and support can change lives. No matter how difficult these times may be, it’s more important than ever to be good neighbors for each other. At County Civil, we check in with our elderly neighbors as much as possible. If you can, volunteer to help yours: Drop a note into their mailbox with a friendly message and your number. Let’s prove to our community that we are all in this together. -Rick Risk

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