Happy Holidays from the O’Connors: 6 Gifts to 7 Children

Happy Holidays from the O’Connors: 6 Gifts to 7 Children

Happy Holidays from the O’Connor Family to Yours!

The birth of my son Jesse Joe has changed my perspective on life, my family and mostly my parents. I guess you don’t realize certain things in life until some type of major shift happens to you, like having a kid.

My parents never told us how to live our lives; they demonstrated a more valuable lesson. Joe & Jane O’Connor did not have to say much, because their actions spoke to us very loudly, they showed us by being a living example of how to live our lives.

When I think about my parents I think about how they have consistently demonstrated joy in their lives. I know they have had their challenges like we all do; yet they never said a negative word about anyone. So my parents have set the bar pretty high for me as a parent. I see their wisdom and life lessons from a different perspective as a new parent.

I want to do what they did and teach my son by my actions, and not just my words.

Here are the 6 priorities my parents taught me to hold to:

  1. Faith – has been the cornerstone of my parents’ life. If you are willing to raise seven children it must take a strong faith to endure what we put them through. I know that my parents are thankful for their blessings and see them as direct gifts from God.  Prayer gives them the strength to help alleviate any worries or fears that come to them.
  2. Family – I have seen no greater joy in my parent’s eyes than when they spend time with our family. From major events like births and graduations to soccer games and recitals.  This is not easy considering they have eighteen grandchildren!  I have always been amazed that with the size of our family, they always make a point of finding time to be with just my wife and I. We all get special and individual time from them.
  3. Friends – My parents have had a wide variety of friends over the years, people that share the same values and ethics. I see the value in having friends who have the same core beliefs regardless of your faith or background. The most common thread I’ve seen in my parent’s friends is integrity, and I think that says just as much about my parents as it does about these treasured friends.
  4. Fun – Both my parents grew up as children of funeral directors, so they know how important it is to make the most out of life and have some fun. My Dad is a practical joker who likes to make people laugh and my Mom has been known to throw quite a party! Some of my greatest memories are of our family gatherings.
  5. Photo Credit: Eviva Art via Etsy.com
    Choices – will define you!  I appreciate that my parents never made our choices for us. They encouraged us to figure things out on our own. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become character, character become destiny, and destiny becomes your legacy. Their choice to give us a large amount of independence was a great one for me. By trial and error we learn best – Choose carefully!
  6. Focus – on your life’s dreams, you can be great at whatever you choose to do. As a new parent I can see so much more of my parents wisdom, they never really cared about what we would become, they just have always wanted us to be happy, healthy and the best we could be. My parents always stayed focused on their core beliefs by letting us learn our own life lessons and by giving us themselves as living examples of how to walk through life’s journeys.

As we approach Christmas I have been reflecting on my life. I am so grateful for the relationships I have; Lisa (my wife) Jesse Joe (my son), my parents, siblings, dear friends, co-workers, and colleagues. Life is short; we only have a finite amount of time on this earth. In the end all we have is our faith, family, friends and this gift called life. I hope you all have a happy holiday and you find many new blessing in this New Year.

Joe, Jane & Jesse O’Connor



What lessons have you learned from your parents or role models?

What do you want to pass on to the next generation?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.


  1. Warren Cloven says:

    You are the man I knew you would be. Congratulations and Merry Christmas to you , your wife and children and to your parents.

  2. Anne says:

    Knowing you as you have matured over the last 17 years I have worked with you, I can say I see so much of your parents in you. As you parent, you embrace the beauty of the legacy that Joe and Jane gave to you and each of your sisters and brother. And now, seeing it in word pictures, I see why you have become the guy you are.
    May God bless your lives, give you a beautiful Christmas together, a stellar 2013 and many reasons to be thankful in whatever the future may hold.
    I am very proud of who we are and what we do, with you at the helm.
    Merry Christmas,

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