12/26/2012 02:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

60 Years of Marriage: A Gift My Parents Gave Me

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings." - Hodding Carter

This week, our family will be celebrating a remarkable event; my parent's sixtieth wedding anniversary. Only an extraordinary mixture of love, trust, faith, hard work and -- yes -- luck could have made this event possible.

I'm not going to attempt to analyze the inner workings of how a union can not only survive, but thrive over six decades, I am simply going to offer thanks.

More than gratitude for the care and security that I received, although that too often goes unspoken, I want to particularly express how grateful I am for their example.

When I met my wife, Veronica, to say she had a dim view of marriage would have been a major understatement. As a child she lived through several divorces, and so had good reason to be highly sceptical of the institution. I, on the other hand, had never considered matrimony as anything other than a permanent proposition.

That viewpoint obviously came directly from my parents, not as something they drilled into my head, but as something I grew up observing. They didn't preach their position, they lived it. That contribution to my upbringing is a huge factor in the happy fact that ten days after my parent's celebration, Veronica and I will mark our own wedding anniversary of thirty years.

Mom and Dad raised five kids, and all the while provided invaluable instruction on parenting too. Again, not through teaching, but by example. I am the fourth born of the five, so I had the benefit of watching what came before me. I learned the rules and what to expect, and by the time I was a teenager, I knew the drill.

After high school, I was generously offered the opportunity to continue my education. Mom and Dad would cover tuition and a place to stay when school wasn't in session, but once college was finished, or if I chose not to continue my education, it was time to grow up, be an adult and provide for myself.

This is a philosophy that we have adopted with our own kids as well. I am thankful that my parents had the confidence and faith in me to expect nothing less than independence and self-reliance. It has served me well throughout my adult life. I learned to fight my own battles, solve my own problems, and be proud of my ability to do so.

That sort of pride is not unseemly, it is a gift. A gift we lovingly pass on to their grandchildren.

Thank you Mom and Dad.