Once, in the heat of an argument, a friend of my older daughter hurled his worst insult at me: "You're such a Walton!" He meant it as a biting statement, an accusation of being hopelessly old-fashioned and behind the times. But instead of being insulted, I embraced my inner Walton. (I also wrote about the incident - including my most appropriate response, "It's better than being a Soprano!" - here.)
Hopelessly old-fashioned? Hardly. But I do confess to being out of step with today's philosophies. In fact, I'm not only confessing - I'm bragging. When I look around at the world today, I'm a bit glad that I don't fall in step with a lot of the things people think are okay - even normal - in our society. And if that makes me a Walton, so be it.
So I have to start this blog with a disclaimer - if you're looking for advice on raising your children to be regular John Boys and Jim Bobs, you're in the wrong place. I do have a brood of children - five of them - but despite my best efforts, I get things wrong more than I get them right. Still, I keep working on myself and praying for guidance and making sure we sit down for a meal together on a regular basis. I screw up, and my kids screw up, and maybe there's not a Walton in the bunch.
But still, I'm striving to find the words, the ideas, the products, the way to bring them up with the values that are timeless. Belief in God, to begin with. Importance of family. A basic determination to do your best and be your best. Hard work, even in hard times.
And when I put my head on my pillow each night, I count my blessings and failures, my smart moves and backwards steps, all the challenges and the smiles in between. I close my eyes, and consider it all joy.