by Linda L. Esterson
Whether it was to “sit up straight,” or “sit with your legs crossed,” or “say please and thank you,” childhood is filled with parental edicts. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day unfold only twice a year, but parents’ words of wisdom tend to spill into life every day. Especially when raising their own children, many people in the area are discovering that parents indeed knew best.
Lisa Kane, director of the Guthrie Memorial Library in Hanover, remembers her father instilling in her and her sister to put their best effort into everything they did. He didn’t let the girls quit an endeavor if they felt they didn’t excel. Instead, he encouraged them to work harder.
“Just letting something go isn’t going to make you do other things better because the way you are, you put the best effort into everything,” Kane recalls her father saying when she tried to quit things to make her life easier.
Kane has instilled the same message to her three sons. She admits to hearing their frustration at her insistence, but now smiles as she hears them reinforce the mantra to each other. In fact, her youngest son, Patrick Kane, recently included the quote in a college fellowship scholarship application.
No matter what, parents want their children to be happy. Some move the world for their children, while others preach the concept so their children work on their own to ensure it happens.
Margaret Cistone’s father, too, told her to “do what makes you happy.”
Cistone has passed that along to her children, with one amendment. Her parents insisted on a college education for their daughters. She, however, realizes the debt associated with education and notes that college is not for everyone.
Today, she has two “wonderful” children, is happily remarried, and instead of working as a med tech she owns her own business, Kirton Kennel in Hanover.
She finds herself doling out the same advice she heard to her own daughter who is enduring the teenage years with her own children.
“I tell her that ultimately they have to be happy,” she says. “They need to do what they want to do.”
Kirsten Smith and Jesse Cook, Hanover siblings who grew up in Manchester, Md., recall the sage advice their father divulged.
“Dad always told us to do what we love to do and the money would come eventually,” Smith says. “That always stuck with us.”
Both children were creative and gifted in the arts, and with their father’s encouragement, they pursued their passions. Today, Smith owns wedding photography company, Kirsten Smith Photography, and paints in her free time. Cook is a guitarist and songwriter.
Smith recalls being as young as six or seven years old when she first heard the words, and remembers hearing them routinely over the years. Today, their father supports their career choices and expresses his pride in them often.
“I know he’s happy we’re doing what we’re doing,” Smith says. “We showed we took what he was saying to heart.”
Cook says their father’s words “shaped who I am and what I live by.”
Cook followed his father’s advice to love his career and follow his passion. Like Smith, he has taken it to heart, and he thinks about his father’s words nearly every day.
Bob Cook always told his children to take every opportunity to enjoy their surroundings, and “stop and smell the roses.”
“People are always climbing to the top for fulfillment, but it’s a shame when they get to the later years, saying they wish they would have…,” he says. “I don’t want my kids to say that. I want them to just do it now.”
“It’s nice of them to give the old man credit,” he says.
Jesse Cook also recalls two additional sound pieces of advice that molded him. His father always encouraged a firm handshake, “eyeball to eyeball,” to introduce himself to someone new. Even recently, someone commented on his handshake’s firmness when they met.
“It’s about first impressions and greeting people well,” Jesse Cook says.
Another key point was to “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” His father meant to not waiver, to be responsible and reliable.
“I’m not perfect at it, nobody is,” Jesse Cook says. “But when I say yes or promise something, I do my best to follow through. I take my promises seriously.”
Shauna Pieruccini, barista at Merlin’s on South Franklin Street, also followed her father’s advice encouraging her to do what makes her happy.
A graduate of Wilson College in Chambersburg with a degree in environmental sustainability, Pieruccini works for a nursery in Westminster, Md., in addition to her time at Merlin’s. Her ultimate goal is to own her own nursery, but in the meantime is saving to travel. She plans a six-week jaunt with friends along the historic Camino of Santiago and backpacking across Europe in late summer 2018.
She lives by her father’s mantra of being happy. When’s she’s upset, irritated or bothered, she shrugs it off as a passing moment, knowing it will work out in the end. She just focuses on being happy.
“Ten years from now, you won’t remember the little things that upset you,” she says. “You will remember being happy. That’s why it’s important to do what makes you happy.”
Popular Advice Heard From Parents
Shared from folks at Merlin’s Coffee Shop and the Guthrie Memorial Library in Hanover.
Jeanette Miller – Stand up straight or you’ll be hunched over when you grow up.“When I find myself hunching over, I still stand up straight.”
Dee Stauffer – Never put more on your credit card then you can afford to pay when the bill comes and remember, your checking account runs out of money before you run out of checks. Her father’s financial advice still remains with Stauffer to this day. She’s taught students in school about it and even mentions it at the library. She rarely uses her credit card today and prefers to pay in cash, and considers her father’s advice part of the reason. “You can lay a credit card down and get a monster bill, I like cash because I’m aware of the spending.”
Jeffrey Pope – You don’t have to like it, you just have to finish it. This applied to food, school, college classes, jobs, even guitar lessons at 8 years old. Pope feels it correlates with don’t judge a book by its cover, as all sides need to be considered before making a purchase, accepting a job or taking on a project. “The only things people can quit are dates.”
Bill Ritter – Never say no. Ritter has led a life full of adventures, thanks to his father, who attributed his success as president of two corporations, ascension on the church council, rotary club, Boy Scout council and fundraising for various organizations to his willingness to help everyone. Ritter’s adventures and experiences around the world beginning at age 15 in religious summer programs in Europe and work across the east coast in factories, hospital chaplaincy programs, volunteer organizations and even folk dancing and yoga instruction today are all attributable to his father’s mantra. He also credits his father for his love of learning and his fluency in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish and French languages.
Steve Hersh – Do not ever sully the family’s name. Plenty of times, Hersh stopped what he contemplated doing because these words echoed in his mind, especially when he was with other family members. He ingrained the same sentiment in his children, and short of a few speeding tickets over the years, never had an issue with their character as a result. After a 10-year strained relationship, Hersh reconciled with his dad, just before his father was diagnosed with several stage 4 cancers. They spent a year reconnecting and Hersh was able to thank his father all of his love and support. “He had himself on that pedestal, but I had him there more than I thought I did.”