How would you answer the question “What are the important events in your life?” If you had to write this down right now, what would you write? I would venture to guess that it would not be your sports team winning the championship title or your receiving a substantial raise.
My guess is that you would write down something that is family related. Most of us would list family as a priority in the lives we are living and family events as important.
Two events last week were important events in my life. And both involved family celebrations.
First, my father turned 90 and I was able to join him 1000 miles away to celebrate. Nine decades is a lot of years to walk this planet. That is only ten years short of a century. My mom turned 90 last fall so we have recognized milestones in both lives recently.
Not many parents live long enough to see their children retire. I guarantee you the world my parents were born into in the early 1930’s is a much different world than they live in today. Their lives span many historical events that our world has experienced. I enjoy visiting with them about their childhood and how life seemed simpler back then. There were less distractions when they raised their family.
I am blessed to have been born into my parent’s family. They did a great job of equipping me for the rest of my life. Both of them are excellent role models for me and have taught me well.
Those who raise each of us impact everyone we come into contact within the years of our lives that follow. Whether it is your spouse, your children, your fellow workers, those you serve your community with, or those you interact with at church, you exhibit to those you interact with characteristics you learned as a child.
Some open the door for others while some step in front of the other person to enter the door first. Some cuss up a storm when they get upset and some never use a cuss word. Some live life putting others first and others live solely for themselves. Some speak with respect using terms such as “sir” or “ma’am” and others talk down to others. Some pray their way through difficult times and others don’t recognize they have a creator. These tendencies all began as a child.
It is not uncommon for me to tell a 50 or 60 year old that their parents raised them well. I usually get a puzzled look on their face in response. I drive the point home by focusing on their behavior that I observed and state they probably learned this while still a child from their mother and father.
My parents raised four children and all four of us “got it.” We have all “made something of ourselves.” They instilled in us ways of looking at the world and behaving that has made us able to interact with others and add value to others.
The second important event in my life is celebrating the 38th anniversary of my marriage to Tanya. I definitely married up. I am more in love with her today that I have ever been in the past.
We both lean heavily on each other. She left for a week recently to visit our daughter and son-in-law and my life was not the same. I am used to waking up with her, visiting with her about our days over dinner, and being next to her when we turn off the lights at the end of the day.
If you told me I am dependent on her I would not argue with you.
It seems that there are fewer and fewer marriages that last. Those who have celebrated 40, 50, or 60 years (my parents are on their 70th year) are a dying breed. But they are leaving a legacy of long marriages that are becoming rare today. Developing and maintaining a joy filled marriage over many years is a challenge for any two people. Most of us hardly knew the spouse we married when we walked the aisle.
I enjoy doing life with my wife and she has always been there in both our valley experiences and our mountaintop experiences. Through commitment and communication we have worked through many difficult issues.
So my last week was packed with important family celebration events.
My challenge to you today is to recognize what are the important events of your life. Are you making family a priority? Do you have family events planned ahead or do you need to create opportunities to celebrate with your family.
Are you making time for your relationships with the generation ahead of you and the generation behind you? Do you add value to your family member’s lives? Each year that passes we have on less year to do so.
From holidays to birthdays to anniversaries, there are many opportunities to gather together, to have a common family experience, and to make memories with those you love most.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to email@example.com:firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.