Inheritance much more than just the tangible items
By Joe Black | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What did you inherit? I’m not really talking about money although I suppose if your trust fund allows you to do whatever you want, that’s OK too.
Maybe you inherited a medical condition. Your heritage is important in that if you don’t know your family’s medical history (maybe you were adopted), you could be at a medical disadvantage.
Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Hemophilia, Neurofibromatosis, certain types of cancer. That’s why it’s important to know our medical heritage. Heart disease has genetic tendencies as do many other conditions.
Let’s look at colon cancer, for example. If there is colon cancer in your family, you are more likely to get it than someone that does not. That makes it more important for you to have regular screenings and colonoscopies.
I’m really looking more at what lessons did you inherit? What legacy of character did your parents give you?
Maybe your inheritance was lessons learned. The lesson I remember most profoundly from my dad was to “always do a job right the first time.”
When I was about 10, I decided to build a tree house. Well ... it wasn’t really a tree house, sort of a very small, one-room cabin up on stilts. I had salvaged building materials from lots of different places, including some tongue-in-groove flooring from the neighbors when they replaced their porch.
At this time in my life, my dad was totally disabled. He had lived through a series of heart attacks and back then (early '60s), you retired from work and basically did nothing.
We dried our washed clothes on a clothesline outside but one of the forbidden activities for those having had a heart attack was that you couldn’t reach or lift over your head. He tried a lot of different hobbies but washing dishes was about as vigorous as he could get.
When I started my tree house, my dad sat in a lawn chair and coached me through the construction. If I were to bend a nail and then keep hammering, he would calmly make me pull the nail, straighten it out, then start all over again. “Always do it right the first time.” Oh yeah, we straightened bent nails.
What else? “Don’t date anybody you wouldn’t marry.” And “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (but I never did like that turn the other cheek thing).
“A job worth doing is worth doing well.” Maybe because I may not have been the most athletically gifted and that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard enough” applied to me. Definitely a bunch of sports analogies in those two.
Maybe most of all, my parents taught me that there was a great, wide world out there and that the key to happiness is to find a job that when you wake up in the morning you look forward to getting to work and to find someone to share it with you.
I inherited a love for the outdoors, of lakes and mountains, and that it was important to take care of those that might not be able to take care of themselves.
Pretty good inheritance in my book.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (email@example.com)