Raising a son holds lessons for all

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, my only son, Matt, turned 50 years of age. Fifty years sounds like a long time, but how time flies!

It seems like just a few short

years ago on Nov. 11, 1960, when Matt was born at Mercy Hospital

in New Orleans. When Jeanne and

I were married, we agreed to have

10 children. However, we were

limited to four because Jeanne’s deliveries were by Caesarean sections.

Getting to back to Matt … on his birthday, I was reflecting on the past, and these are some of my favorite memories of Matt.

As a young boy, he would wake

up in the middle of the night and love to crawl in bed with us. One night, when he was about 4 years old, I prayed with him to stay in

his bed. “If you wake up tonight,” I said, “ask Jesus to help you stay in your bed.“ The next morning, Matt was in our bed. I angrily asked what happened. He said, “I woke up and told Jesus I was cold and He said, ‘Go sleep with your Mom and Dad.’”

One time, when we took Matt for an eye examination, the doctor asked him if he had trouble seeing the blackboard. Matt replied, “Yes.” “When do you have the most trouble?” the doctor asked. “When the teacher is in front of it,” he answered.

Being a concerned father, I stressed to my son to always be honest with me. When he was 13, he went on an altar boy picnic at the St. Joseph Abbey in Covington. On his return, he was in agony, telling me that he had smoked a cigarette. I reacted in a condemning way instead of encouraging him for his honesty.

In the 10th grade, while attending a public school, he said he wanted to go to a private school. I granted his request. He lasted one day and said, “I want to go back to Leon Godchaux.”

Matt went to college because I wanted him to go. While in college, he got married, finally graduated, and being the controlling person that I am, I directed him to the insurance business. After two months, he said, “I don’t want to work in a suit. I want to work with my hands.” Today, Matt works for himself as a carpenter, roofer and “jack-of-all-trades.”

He is married to Monica Martinez and is the father of four children, Amber, Mattie, Kane and Kameron. He also has one grandchild, Caleb, and is expecting another in January.

Matt struggles like many of us but is a pleasure to Jeanne and me. I thank God that he has the personality and good nature of his mother and didn’t take after me.

If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: hkeller@comcast.net.