Five Principles I Learned from My Parents

Christy Brunke with parents Mike and Denise Litzau

How have your mom, dad, and other guardians blessed your life?

This past Sunday, my husband preached out of Proverbs on family relationships. At the end of his sermon, he encouraged each of us to write down five things we’ve learned from our parents.

Narrowing down the ways my parents have blessed me to only five was challenging, but here’s what I came up with:

1. Be generous with your time, talents, and treasures. 

When we were growing up, my parents modeled generous giving. They took in a young man who needed a home. They hosted parties for friends, family, and my high school theater group. They gave to families in need, so parents could buy their children Christmas gifts.

Dad sang and preached at churches and led a Bible study out of our finished attic. Mom taught the high school Sunday school class and cooked for hundreds of inner-city kids at summer camp.

Today, they continue to model generous giving.

Denise Litzau with Brunke and Litzau Grandchildren

They devote much of their free time to babysitting their grandkids. They supported a family in China, so the daughter could go to school and the mom could get the medicine she needed. They gave me and my brothers down payments on our first homes and helped fund my healing from Lyme disease.

Dad remodeled our basement and stripped and stained our hardwood floors. He also helped my brother landscape his yard and put new roofs on our shed and my brothers’ houses. Mom gives to important causes, helps lead a Bible study, and “adopted” a girl from the cancer ward.

2. Family means fond memories together.

I come from a big family that loves spending birthdays, holidays, and vacations together. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but with more blondes, an Asian, and lots of blue eyes.

Easter: The Brunke, Carter, and Litzau Families

Growing up, every Sunday after church, we went to Mom-Mom and Daddywill’s house for dinner. There, we joined my aunts, uncles, and cousins for lunch, laughter, and lots of love. The menu often included roast beef and mashed potatoes, the smell of apple pies wafting from the oven.

Today, we still vacation together and celebrate many birthdays, showers, weddings, and holidays together. Mom and Aunt Darlene host many of these events at their homes, offering hot food and warm hugs to everyone who walks through the door.

Celebrating Pat Litzau's Eightieth Birthday Party

3. Save, live within your means, and maintain a high credit rating. 

My parents are well-off now, but I didn’t grow up that way. They married when Dad was twenty, and Mom was nineteen, and got pregnant with me on their honeymoon. Over the next ten years, my two brothers were born. 

Mike Litzau doing carpentry with Landon Litzau

Dad was a carpenter, and Mom was a stay-at-home mom. (She also worked as a waitress, caterer, or day care provider, depending on the year.) In other words, my parents didn’t exactly bring in the big bucks during my childhood years. Still, we never wanted for anything.

We got new clothes for Christmas, our birthdays, and before school started each year. The rest of the time, we shopped at Goodwill and yard sales. We rarely had name brands, but we had plenty, and we didn’t go into debt

Mom bought day-old bread, always had coupons handy, and knew all the best deals. Instead of seeing movies when they first released, we went to the cheap theater and still had a great time. 

Today, Mom owns and manages a settlement company, and Dad buys and remodels homes to rent or sell. They can now afford name-brand clothes, a Mercedes, and even trips to Europe. Still, Mom’s always quick to point out any amazing deals she finds.

Mike and Denise Litzau on vacation

4. Even in the little things, honesty is always the best policy.

Despite my parents’ limited resources when we were kids, they never encouraged us to lie about our age to save money. Instead, quite the opposite. Truth was honored as one of the highest character traits. After all, if you can’t trust each other, how can you have a healthy relationship?

5. Have boundaries, but forgive, and make every effort to live in peace with everyone.

My parents are both strong-willed, intelligent people, but they don’t hold grudges. They speak the truth in love and do their best to live in harmony with friends, family, and coworkers. 

All in all, I’ve been incredibly blessed by both of my amazing parents. What five things did you learn from yours? Comment below!

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2 thoughts on “Five Principles I Learned from My Parents

  1. Your 5 points and the parents you shared could have been mine. As I read your account I remembered so many good memories. Thank you for sharing.

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