SEEING THE WORLD FROM A BIG PICTURE ATTITUDE, September 3, 1997, --by David Wilkinson

  First, I must tell you that I grew up with my mother and step-father. I was usually able to visit my father during the summers, and at that time, I would also get to see my brothers who remained with him in State College. During these short visits, I learned a lot from my father; though, at the time, I probably didn't realize it. Basically, my father taught me how to teach myself. I don't mean academically but rather in regards to life in general.

  From him I learned to make my own decisions and accept the consequences of those decisions. He rarely "laid down the law." I was basically my own person (even at an early age) who was allowed to make my own decisions regardless of what my father thought. This isn't to say that he didn't make his feelings known. I've had my share of guilt trips, but in the end, I decided what was best for me. And to my chagrin, I sometimes found that some decisions would have been better reached had I listened to my father's advice. This may seem like a small thing, but I found that I grew up a lot faster than some of those around me. I became more of an individual, and I recognized and accepted advice given to me. I guess I became responsible (who would have thought that there could be such a thing as a responsible teenager).

  When I was visiting with my father, one of the things we enjoyed doing was going down to Roy Rogers, ordering a couple of cheeseburgers and fries, and sit and watch people as they passed by the window. It was from him that I picked up the habit of being a people watcher. We would watch big people, small people, skinny people, fat people, people from different places like India, China, Africa, Iran, and Texas, and people with different backgrounds, beliefs, morals, and religions. My father showed me the world from a window seat at Roy Rogers. He taught me to see the world from a big picture attitude, and from this vantage point, I learned respect. Respect for different people, ideas, and cultures. It is this respect that is for me, one of the greatest things I've ever learned. It is whom I am. I also believe that it was whom my father was as well. He saw the world from a wide angle. I think he saw more than most. And I believe it was respect of this world, which let him see so much rather than having a narrow view of things. After all, how can you truly see something if you have no respect for it.

  I don't know what else to say other than that my father taught me a few valuable lessons about life and the universe. I do know what some of his passion were. These were genealogy and fishing to name just two.