This morning my mother called with some sad news; her brother, Pete passed away last night. Uncle Pete had been very sick for quite a while so this was not a big surprise. However, the loss of a family member is never easy.
Uncle Pete had a very special place in my life when I was a young boy. He was my godfather and the uncle that gave me the chance to do things that I would never be able to do at home. Uncle Pete taught me how to handle a gun and he took me hunting. He taught me how to ride a minibike which ultimately forced my parents to give in and let me buy my own. Going to his house was always a blast!
This brings me back to my earlier post about how experiences form and inform us as we travel through life and that their impact can grow strong as we get older. Uncle Pete represented adventure, excitement and fun. However, in all the things that we kids did with him, safety was priority #1. At a very early age I learned about responsibility, accountability and respect from Uncle Pete. These were important lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life.
When I got a little older and had more distractions as a teen, Uncle Pete played less of a role in my life and we pretty much went separate ways. However, the experiences that we have and the lessons that we learn when we are children are hugely important in who we ultimately become. I thank Uncle Pete for exposing me to things I would never otherwise have experienced and, consciously or unconsciously, teaching me some pretty important things (values).