I wrote this blog several years ago and thought that as Father's Day approaches, I would share it with you again. It's message is what REALLY counts when our children, as they move into adulthood, think about what really mattered to them and stayed with them from their childhood. I meet with hundreds of parents a year. Parents of young children, and parents of older children. Their worry is pretty universal. Is it too late? Have I screwed up? Have I damaged my kid beyond repair? And I say pretty much across the board...NO! As you will read in this post below. If your kids are raised with love and understanding, all the other sh*t is just that...,momentary sh*t! As your children move into adulthood, it's really the big picture they remember. Not that you grounded them or took their phone away, or yelled at them cause they didn't do their chores, but did you show love and acceptance, and could they come to you for help and understanding. In fact, many of my college students on reflecting on their younger selves say what pains they were to their parents, and now feel badly about the times they were disrespectful or dishonest or bratty. They are so thankful for the unwavering love they felt from their parents. That's what they remember!
A very dear friend died this past weekend, and today was his memorial service. His two grown daughters spoke at the service with devotion, eloquence, and such abundant love, and I was left thinking about what ultimately are the most important things we give to our children. And that is quite simply, love. These two young women spoke not about his accomplishments, of which there were many, but about his ability to be there for them always, even though he had an extremely demanding and successful career. His ability to hear in their voice that something was up, and be there to listen. His ability to see them from across a room, and know just by a look in their face, that something was up, and he was there to listen. They talked about his joy in just being with them, whether chatting, or playing board games, and or sharing his passions of books, and food, and France.
Other family members and a close friend all spoke of his extraordinary ability for being empathic and for taking time every single day to call and check in, "how are you"even if it was for only a minute.
His daughters spoke of how what their dad taught them about loving is now being passed down to their own young children. And how important the gifts of time and understanding are to give to their kids.
What would your kids say about you?