Lots of people ask me how I find time to write when I have ten children.
I tell them, “I don’t find time to write. I make time to write. I’m afraid if I stop, I’ll forget all the good parts of my life.”
Writing about being a parent is also my personal attempt to give honor to vital work that is often unappreciated and unheralded. Ordinary activities like fixing a meal, sweeping the kitchen floor or changing a diaper are often overlooked when it comes time for recognition. In our society we give adulation and millions of dollars to individuals who can dunk a basketball, walk down a runway in a bikini or pretend they are someone else for a movie camera. Taking care of children seems to be too common, boring and ordinary to garner societal attention or remuneration. Yet it is in those vital relationships we form at home where all the qualities of human greatness are neglected or nourished - like love, compassion, forgiveness, patience, kindness and charity.
So, I write and write and I can’t stop writing because the events and relationships that are happening in my family and your family will only happen once in the history of the universe. If we don’t observe, contemplate and gain insight from the profound uniqueness of our own life and relationships we form, they will be lost forever.
I remember a day when my daughter Ashley called me to the west window to see a sunset. I was busy and told her I’d be there in a minute. By the time I walked into the dining room and looked west, the sunset was gone - the day ended. I was too late. I don’t want to feel that way at the end of my life – too busy doing anything less important at the price of what was truly significant.
Somewhere deep inside of me I have been given an absolute personal conviction that being a person who loves and cares for others is incredibly important. I also know that we become role models much more quickly than we think. Little eyes look to us to see how human beings behave in this world.
History teaches us that battlefield victories fade, leadership changes and the flames of fame are quickly snuffed out. At the end of the day there has to be someone to go home to. A man or woman who feels peace and joy at home has accomplished the greatest feat in life. Yes, family life has ups and downs, twists and turns, triumphs and failures. Yet learning to forgive, love and cherish those in your own home is the truest measure of a life well lived.
The most exciting journey we take in this life is the one that invites us to discover the capacity of our heart. That is a journey we best take at home. When we truly love someone, it changes the way we see ourselves, the world and each other. There is a deep sustaining sustenance that feeds those who serve. How we take care of those who can not care for themselves is the test of a nation, state, community and an individual.
What matters more - How many people know our name or how many people know we love them? How many possessions we have, or how many possessions we have given away? How much talent we have or how much we’re used our talents to bless the lives of others?