Vail Valley Voices: A bit of payback |

Vail Valley Voices: A bit of payback

Greg Ziccardi
Vail, CO, Colorado

A father just forwarded a heart-full-of-goodness email to me, and I immediately asked if I could share some of the thoughts with the masses that read this rag.

He granted the wish, and here are some of the verses. Guess, if you can, what this person is doing to write such things in an email:

“There is no way I will make two years in this place, there’s no way I’ll survive. … I think about all that I’ve tried to do, all that I’ve failed at and all that I actually did. … So why is it not enough? What is it about human nature … the constant sight of poverty and sadness? … Did I really give all I could have? … The bigger impact is not what you did for them but what they did for you. … There are no awards, medals or prizes for a job well done. … They will not say how I have transformed. … Leadership actually means humility. … Anger and frustration rarely accomplish anything. … I expect no one to give me a pat on the back or even understand what I have been through. … Manage, appreciate and love who you were made to be.”

Kids just say the darndest things.

All this reminded me of a speech I had to give once and struggled for days about a subject. It finally hit me, and I decided to question something. Something that is a common denominator for many of us.

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I wondered for years about parenting, and in a selfish sort of way, I asked for an answer to this question: “When do they pay us back?” I’ve changed a lot of diapers and even bailed some of them out of jail. “So when do they pay us back?”

I appealed to the crowd like a TV evangelist when I gave my speech.

I stared out over the crowd and spoke further while I glanced mostly at my three children in the audience. They were all in their 20s and seated at different tables. It was then that I saw how beautiful they were.

From early youth, all kids are handsome or pretty. But when they become young adults, they occupy a whole new space and just like that, they are beautiful.

It answered the question and I announced to the crowd that had joined us for my son’s wedding, “And ladies and gentlemen, the payback comes when they make you proud, and I am very proud of my children tonight.”

I received that email from my friend and thought exactly the same thought for him. “It’s payback time, and he must be awfully proud of that young lady.”

Her name is Hallie and she is 24 years old, in the Peace Corps and is the niece of a very good friend of mine.

More importantly, she is the daughter of two very proud parents.

Greg Ziccardi can be reached at

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