Archives For Character Development

My wife’s parents were role models in showing hospitality.  Dinnertime was not only a social event, it was the main event!  The food was always great and so were the welcome and the conversation.

This is the third in a series of posts honoring the life of a true encourager, my father-in-law, Joe De Ruvo, Sr.  You can find Part 1 and Part 2 on the Encourage and Equip blog.

A Friend of People

My father-in-law was a friend of people, regardless of their church affiliation or absence. Let me explain.

As a kid growing up in New York CIty, I remember the occasional big holiday dinner around the table for hours but the normal daily routine was sitting on the couch with folding snack tables with the evening news on the television.  When I made a dinner reservation at a restaurant, they would ask “what time?” so they could estimate what time the table would be available for the next guest.

While living in Italy many years ago, I noticed a key difference between American culture and Italian.

My daughter Cathy enjoying time with her grandpa after dinner.

In Italy, I quickly learned lingering at the table with loved ones was one of the rewards of making it through the day.  When I made a dinner reservation in Italy, they only asked what day because they reserved the table for the evening.  When you were invited for dinner at Joe and Rose’s (my wife’s parents) you were invited to linger.

At my mother and father-in-law’s, Continue Reading…

Shortly after his ninetieth birthday, my father-in-law was given a few months to live.  What would you do? Let me tell you what Joe did.

My father-in-law had the rare blessing of getting a “two-minute warning” so to speak.  Shortly after his ninetieth birthday, he began experiencing unusual health complications that made treating one problem impossible without creating or escalating other problems.  Long story short, the prognosis was a few months left to live.  What would you do?  Let me tell you what Joe DeRuvo did.

Among other things, he made the most of the opportunity to contact and say goodbye to friends and family–a rare blessing indeed.  He also planned out his own memorial service with the help of long-time friends and pastors.

In the memorial service that he planned, my wife (his daughter) shared some of her personal recollections and a note that he left behind. Continue Reading…

Three Parenting Wins

September 15, 2016

It made my day when my daughter, Grace now 24, mentioned something that I repeatedly tried to teach my kids. She said something close to, “like you always told us …” It made my heart all warm and fuzzy inside for quite some time to realize that something I considered a foundational value or principle got through.

Young girl on dad's shoulders at the shore.

I’d like to share today three parenting wins that at least one of my kids heard and continues to have as a core value. In the next few days, I hope to elaborate on each of these principles. For now, here is a brief overview of the three principles

1.  Don’t Scream Unless It’s an Emergency.

For some reason, young children especially girls, can have a tendency to scream as they’re having fun. I remember trying to help my kids to realize that if they were always screaming when there is no danger, it could be hard to know when they were really in need of immediate assistance.

Now parents might be saying I can tell the difference between the screams. You might be right but I didn’t want to take the chance. Plus, a little less noise pollution in the world is always a good thing.

2.  Stop Means Stop.

This was a rule that we had especially when the kids were young. Inherent in the rule was the idea that even the youngest or smallest was empowered to stop whatever activity was going on if they were getting hurt in the process. Continue Reading…