Tough Love ……. I Hated It

People asked me almost daily, how do I fight cancer with such an amazing attitude? That question got me to thinking. I thought there was no other choice, but I see in observing others fight a disease or dealing with a personal issue that there is always a choice. So the following is my analysis of how I got my "amazing" attitude.

I was born a Redden. Reddens are tough people! They are fun and full of humor but tough. Rules are real. They honor their word. They tell it to you straight. Tremendously self-sufficient and independent people are the Reddens.

My Dad was born Aug. 22, 1934, during the worst of years of the Great Depression (1929-1940). We think we have it tough at times in 2014.

Radio was big in his coming up years. Television was invented in 1927 but didn't come to market until late in the 1940s. And even when people could buy a TV, the Reddens raising eight children in a two bedroom house in Bloomer, Ark., couldn't afford a TV. No TV forced my Dad to go play outside. Sitting on the couch playing on the iPhone wasn't an option. I'm sure that my Granny (Clara) had George and all her kids doing chores of some sort. As a result they all grew up with a strong work ethic and common sense to figure out how to do stuff. They had to if they were going to survive tough times.

I love my family and my Redden family legacy. As a little girl their morals, values and belief in God began to soak into my soul. I wanted to be just like Granny. I wanted my Dad to love me and be proud of me. 

Granny was great. Of course she loved me! I was her first grandchild and I was a cute little girl. We bonded immediately. She schooled me on life and people. She died at the age of 92. She stayed active especially in her garden (the whole yard) just weeks before she went to meet the good Lord.  Having a pretty yard and a garden is another Redden legacy.

Dad was hard to the point I didn't think he loved me until I was a grown adult with my own child. He was tough. Now I'm VERY thankful. 

One day we were watching his three grandchildren driving his treasured riding lawn mower rather wildly. He was laughing at them! I looked at him and said if Jeff (my brother) or I had driven your lawn mower like that you would have beat us – for real.  He looked me in the eye and simply said, "I'm not raising these kids and my job with you and Jeff was to raise independent children." For the first time, I understood my upbringing. And let's just say, I think he overachieved especially in the independent category!!!

Independence is one of many traits I gained. Once I graduated high school I was out the door and on my own. Honestly, are today's 18 year olds able to be 100% independent? I wasn't but I had the mind, will and determination to figure it out. I did learn from many of my mistakes what not to do. I had to learn to forgive myself, dust off the wrong move and move on.  

The ability to overcome obstacles and champion opportunities all my life has come in handy. Commitment, responsibility, and money management are all gifts George Redden gave his kids. Yes, we are independent plus more. The Redden family faces fears and challenges with an attitude that failure is NOT an option. Thanks in part to generations of tough love raisin'. 

Thankfully, I learned most of the lessons taught by my parents and learned them well. If you know me, then you know I did rebel some. I'm sure my big brave personality was a motivating factor for them to get me in church frequently. I liked going. There were people there and I'm social. In church, I made life-long friends, gained adult role models and found Jesus. 

I liked Jesus. I wanted to know Him thus I began a life-long relationship of getting to know Him personally. I talk to Him often during the day. He is a great friend to have but He is much much more. He is my savior. He provides me the peace, strength, wisdom, hope and joy to live my life as I fight cancer.

People asked me almost daily, how do I fight cancer with such an amazing attitude? So here is the straight truth. It comes natural to me because I am blessed to have a heavenly Father and an earthly Father that prepared me for life's opportunities and challenges. Both Fathers love me and are here for me at any time. Having applied the lessons they have taught me has been tough at times. Learning isn't easy but necessary when you fight big stuff like cancer and living a life with much accomplished. 

I know how to champion a challenge and how to get help. Cancer is just my current personal project. I'm tough and I have know how! I'm George Redden's daughter. Thanks Dad. I love you. Happy 80th birthday. Stay healthy. I still need you.

PS. Mom (Joyce) was a big help, also. She will tell you the dead truth – so don't ask her unless you really want to know. However she is full of wisdom and she is an amazing country cook. She celebrates an August birthday, too. 

PSS. Amanda (my daughter) born in August as well. I raised her the Redden way but just a little less tough and with a daily dose of love. She has the "can do" give to me an honest and straight attitude. I am proud to leave her with the Legacy of the Reddens. What a gift!

Tick Tock – Time to celebrate August birthdays!