By: Alissa Holm

            Everyone reaches a point when they realize how wise their parents were. For some, it’s the moment when they cook their first meal at college. For others, it’s when they have their first day of work at a full time job. And for almost everyone, that moment comes when they have their first child (or so I’ve heard.) For me, I think I’ve always known I had good parents. But it took living independently at school for me to fully realize how much they shaped the way I think and the way I understand the world. Here are eight of the many lessons my parents taught me that I’ll never forget.

 1. Hard work is worth it.

I remember being in second grade and explaining to the girl who sat next to me that my mom made me work to earn my favorite purple flowery umbrella that I was playing with at recess. She didn’t understand how that worked, but I had known for a long time that I had to earn what I wanted. That was a theme across all my years of growing up, and climaxed for me in the summer of 2008. I spent every day of that summer making snow cones to earn enough money to buy my own car. All my friend’s parents were buying them cars left and right, and life felt unfair. But at the end of the summer, I had earned $1400—just enough money to buy my 1991 Subaru Loyale. I drive still drive that dedicated car around Provo everyday, and it stands as a daily reminder to me that hard work is always worth it.

2. Daddy-daughter dates are the highlight of a 7-year-old girl’s week.

I looked forward to it more than anything—going to see “Princess Diaries,” getting gummy worms at Albertsons, or even shopping at Home Depot—because those dates meant time for just dad and me.

3. Imagination should be exercised.

My mother always encouraged me to use my imagination—whether it was making mud pies in our backyard, playing sharks and minnows at the pool, or pretending I was a pioneer crossing the planes—she encouraged me to use my imagination as much as I could.

4. James Taylor has a song to fit any mood.

In the 30+ years that James Taylor has been making music, he’s created enough songs to fit any mood. For us, Sweet Baby James was a lullaby, Carolina On My Mind was for family road trips, and Fire and Rain was for when my dad wanted to serenade my mother. Although I hated waking up to James Taylor singing throughout our house on Saturday mornings, listening to him now draws up the sentimental little girl inside of me.

5. There are lessons to be learned from the elderly.

My parents have a special place in their hearts for the elderly, and always taught us the importance of serving and listening to them. We’d mow the lawns of elderly women on our street, take cookies to the nursing home, and make trips regularly to visit our grandparents. I learned early on that each person we visited had a lifetime of experiences and knowledge to learn from.

6. A good citizen cares about both local and national issues.

Because I lived in an environment that discussed local political issues and candidates, I looked forward to turning 18 because it meant that I could finally vote for our local leaders. My parents taught me that a good citizen doesn’t just educate themselves on national problems, they also stay involved in their local political scene.

7. It’s healthy to spend time outside.  

My family may have been a little old fashioned with our 1970’s TV and lack of video games, but living like this pushed us outside to use our imaginations and enjoy the outdoors. My mother grew up in the Teton Mountains and my father in the potato fields of Idaho, so the outdoors were a big deal to our family. As we’d spend time together camping every summer, I began to feel like the mountains of Idaho were a part of our family.

8. Family is everything.

While I remember growing tired of going to my brother’s many basketball games, I learned that we went to them because basketball mattered to him, so it also mattered to us. We would have family dinner together every night, Sunday interviews with my dad, and regular family meetings. I learned that we made time for our family, because family is everything.