Permit me to introduce you to Charles and Mary Ferguson. My parents.
There are many people that admire my parents. My sister and I are two of them, along with our respective families.
Some look at their life together and exclaim “impressive.”
- Charles and Mary have been married 54 years and have a wealth of experience to share with others.
- Charles served in the military, becoming a lieutenant in the Canadian Army during the Korean War. He then worked as a teacher while he got a masters degree in military history. Shifting his talents to management, he eventually became Vice President of Administration at the University of Guelph.
- Mary has a degree in English and worked as a teacher, before investing her time in raising 2 children. She also taught learning-disabled individuals.
- In their retirement years, they have worked with various groups and individuals in an effort to spread the Gospel of Christ.
But for all of their labors – of work and love – they have maintained a common set of values that revolve around living, learning, and laughing.
A Life Full of Living
As a family, we’ve had a life that’s more than just surviving. It’s included: positive and negative experiences; trials and growth; exploration and evaluation; making friends and loosing touch; the birth of children and the loss of grandparents; and moments of anger and lots and lots of love.
A full life is good. But all that comes with living is sometimes hard on a marriage.
Three values that have helped my parents remain together are faith, perseverance, and forgiveness. My wife, Lori, wrote about them under the heading 3 Essentials to Get Over the Humps. It includes a video of my parents talking about these values.
They provide solid advice for any marriage.
A Life Full of Learning
It’s not surprising that learning was an important value growing up. With two teachers in the house, every topic and every experience could be viewed as an opportunity to learn and grow.
However, the search for truth became an important part of life for Mary and later Charles. Today, much of this comes from studying the Bible, seeking God’s word, and lots of discussion.
When I visit with my parents, there’s rarely a moment when we’re not discussing what we have learned lately. There is excitement in the air, a passion to share, and a desire to deliberate – together.
On the topic of learning, one of their common Biblical references is “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). Sometimes I joke “who wants to be iron, I prefer bronze.”
A Life Full of Laughing
Humor and fun have been essential values in our family, throughout my growing up years and still today.
As young children, when Dad came home from work my sister and I would often run into the living room and jump all over our him. Horsing around – literally getting horseback rides – created a strong bond of trust that remains to this day.
Being silly, making funny faces, and telling jokes was also part of normal life. And it still is today.
In more recent years, telling jokes has become a staple for my mother. When she discovered the satellite radio station “Laugh USA”, it was like she struck gold. She loves to share the jokes she hears on the radio, laughing so hard no one around her can remain serious. It’s just too much fun!
My parents – Charles and Mary – have been blessed with a long, healthy marriage. By embracing a solid set of values, they leave a legacy of hope for their grandchildren and future generations that it is possible to lead a full life by living, learning and laughing.
Who has made a positive impact on your vision for a full life?