I have an awesome family. One of the reasons, if not the main reason, is my Pap C, Louis Casciani, Jr.
Pap died last Friday afternoon. He was my hero. The dictionary says a hero is a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character. My Pap was noted for both.
He was born October 10, 1924 in New Eagle, PA. The oldest son of Louis Casciani, Sr., an immigrant from Italy in the early 1900’s.
He was drafted by the US Navy during WWII at age 18 and entered service on July 2, 1943. His ship, the USS St. Lo, was sunk in the Pacific Theater on October 25, 1944 when a Japanese kamikaze aircraft crash-dived into it. Pap was knocked unconscious and thrown into the cold Pacific waters. He survived thanks to a buddy who managed to get a life-preserver around him. That act of courage earned him the Purple Heart.
As I celebrate his life, it’s an opportunity to humbly reflect on what I learned from him. He espoused each of us should use whatever gifts we have received from God to serve others, as faithful stewards of His grace. He believed one of the marks of an awesome family is to help each other grow. Here are two ways Pap did this:
- Through example. Pap understood people don’t want to hear a lecture, but they will notice and follow the example you set. Therefore, teach the behavior you want by doing it. “Since I have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15)
- Through conversations. Pap understood people don’t grow if you don’t have critical conversations with them about real issues. Unfortunately, most conversations in today’s society are superficial. For example, most conversations we have with kids are about schedules, eating or homework and not about the stuff that really matters in life.
Pap also understood ways that don’t help people grow:
- Criticizing doesn’t work. Nagging doesn’t work. Condemning doesn’t work. Complaining doesn’t work. Why? Because they are not rooted in love. “Don’t keep scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice.” (Ephesians 6:4)
- Comparing doesn’t work. Everyone’s unique. There’s nobody else in the world like you, which is why it’s pointless to compare yourself to someone else. In fact, it’s lethal to any relationship. “Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done.” (Galatians 6:4)
Pap C lived his life like God meant for it to be. Love one another. Care for one another. Pray for one another. Encourage one another. Help one another. Build each other up.
I’ll miss being able to see you and talk with you, Pap. I love you so much. You’re my hero. I promise to live the rest of my life the way you lived yours, until the day we’re reunited in Heaven.