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I have discovered that one of the greatest places on earth is the Brown’s house. Not because of the heated pool, the trampoline, the big TV, the huge oven in the garage, or the hot tub, but because of the kitchen table. I have made several wonderful memories sitting and talking with friends at that table. The Browns have created a wonderful environment where people can go to relax and to have a great time. More importantly, they have created a safe haven where my friends and I can go to laugh and learn about life.

The greatest thing about being around Brother and Sister Brown is seeing the example they set before me of what I should strive to become as an adult. They genuinely love each other, love their children, and love all those around them.

Brother and Sister Brown have been married now for thirty years. They met while both working as hourly employees at a KFC in Salt Lake City, Utah and now manage a district of stores together.

How amazing is it to be married for thirty years! Naturally, I had to ask what has lead to their happy marriage. Without hesitation, and almost in unison, each one responded with, “he/she was super patient with me!” They further explained, “When you love someone, you learn not to focus on the flaws. You learn to live with each other’s quirks.”

Sister Brown shared a story, “We worked six days a week and raised five kids. One day I came home and did a deep cleaning. I cleaned the whole house top to bottom. Brother Brown came home and the first thing he noticed was that I didn’t clean the top of the microwave.” We all laughed at the story and then Sister Brown smiled as she explained, “At the time I was frustrated, frustrated because he noticed the microwave of all things! But then I learned how insignificant that was, I learned not to hold grudges. You learn to not focus on the flaws.”

As our conversation and dinner continued, we came onto the topic of being an example unto others. Brother Brown shared that being a role model is both a natural and learned trait. He noted, “Sister Brown and I have always been surrounded by youth, whether it was with KFC, with our own kids, or in our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” Through their constant interaction with youth, they have developed into better role models.

Brother Brown described their career at KFC, “we recognized as a couple that the youth in our restaurants looked to us as role models, we learned that we needed to represent ourselves as a couple.” Sister Brown elaborated, “There was a young man in our restaurant. His family did not offer him the support that he needed in his life, so it was up to us. We encouraged him to serve a mission and to stay active in church. After he got home from his mission we encouraged and supported him in his life’s endeavors. He credits his success in life to us.”

As I thought about the young man they helped, I started to wonder about something I heard in a lecture during one of my MBA classes, “You cannot be friends with your subordinates; they will often times think they don’t have to work as hard because they are friends with the boss.” I asked the Browns if they have ever felt this way, they responded, “the better friends we were, the more we expected from them. Our friends knew we trusted them, and this caused them to work harder. They didn’t want to let us down.” I admire how the Browns value trust as an important aspect of friendship

Brother and Sister Brown continued to share examples of how they have been able to role models. “With our own kids”, they explained, “we always had people over. We had the hang out house. Because of the examples we were, our children’s friends often opened up to us, more than they did their own parents.”

“People saw how we were with our kids, church, employees, etc. They saw how we were both parents and friends to our children. People learned from us and respected us. We didn’t necessarily try to do all those things; we just loved and cared for them. We gave the advice we could, and they saw it. All the experiences have developed us into better people.”

As all good parents do, Brother and Sister Brown are always talking about their Children, and I love to hear the stories. I love to hear stories of how they too have become successful people and now have families of their own. I love all the stories of their grandchildren, and I love to see how having a family brings the Browns such great joy. Brother Brown told me, “we have 5 kids, a wonderful daughter-in-law and a great son-in-law. Our 5 grandkids are the best. We have a great Family, and that’s what life is all about.”

Sister Brown assured me that parenting isn’t always easy, but having kids and grandkids has been the most rewarding thing in her life. I laughed when she bluntly said, “I hate agency. Sometimes I wish I could make decisions for my children. Watching them hurt or suffer is difficult and sometimes all you can do is pray and love them.”

The last question I asked Brother and Sister Brown is what advice they have for people starting their adult lives. They responded, “Know that you are loved: Loved by your parents, by your friends, by God, and by Jesus.” They also expounded on the importance of having a family, “Having a family is the greatest blessing. Don’t wait for Barbie or Ken, they don’t exist.” The last advice they gave was about hard work, “You get out of life what you put into it. Life is about hard work.”

Brother and Sister Brown are the role models that we all need in life. Together they are one of the greatest examples of what a happy relationship should be

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