What’s really important in parenting?

Is it a clean house or a hug?

Is it a busy schedule or dinner at home?

Is it the proper education or learning?

Is it the dance class or dancing at home?

Is it music or concerts?

Is it social events or movie time at home?

Is it an experience or is it doing the right thing?

My kids reminisce about the great meals that we fixed them, the local trips that we took them on, and the memories that we made at home.  They don’t talk about how clean my house was, how caught up the laundry was or wasn’t, about the car we drove, except the one that had a short in it and stopped at random times and they watched in amusement as I tried to pray that car back on.

They talk about what they learned and the experiences they had.  They know our flaws all too well, but understand that our love outshines them all.  They saw our hearts and how hard we tried to provide for them.  They understand that for better or for worse we gave it our best shot.  We were growing up alongside of them.  Growing and maturing as they did.

What’s really important is pouring our lives into theirs.  It doesn’t cost a dime to spend time with people, love them, and make memories with them.  Impacting the lives of others has nothing to do with the degrees we hold, the car we drive, the size of our house, the amount of our income or ensuring that a nice neat checklist is marked off.  Relationships supersede all of that and are much too messy for checklists.

My own father has been gone for six years now.  He was an imperfect man who on his best day couldn’t always get it all right.  He didn’t mark off all the boxes on the parenting checklist, always have the right job or income, but he gave me something much more important.  He instilled in me a love for things that are very dear to me.  What was most important wasn’t the things that he worried about, but the things that he didn’t.

It was a hug, the way he sang to me, remember that Charlie Rich song The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, that was my song.  It was his laugh, holding my hand, his witt and advice.  One of dad’s strongest messages to me was that no matter what happens in this world there is ALWAYS opportunity.  ALWAYS!  That is the kind of lesson that you can take with you in life.  It’s more important than anything else.

In a blink of an eye our small children grow up and start their own lives.  What’s really important is the time you spend with them, the memories you make and the lessons you teach.  What really matter’s is how we pour our lives into preparing them for their’s.  It is then we will get to see the fruit of our labors.  It is then we will understand that so many of the things we thought were important aren’t and that what was will stick with them throughout their entire life.

Marcy Pedersen

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