KERNELS OF WISDOM: The greatest thing you can do for your kids

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Tucked away in the ‘Family Section’ of my library there’s a little paperback that I browse through now and again. If indeed there’s truth in the statement that ‘the best things come in small bulk’ then this 62-page paperback that was first published in the late 60’s is surely a veritable fountain of wisdom.

Written by Mennonite author, John M. Drescher, “If I Could Start My Family Again” contains 10 things the author would do if he could turn the clock back and do it all over again. I’m not about to share with you all of Drescher’s wisdom, but with St. Valentine’s Day this February 14, I thought it would be incredibly beneficial to share with you the number one thing that tops the list.

Let me ask you as a parent, what do you suppose is the number one thing you can do for your children? Spend quality time with them? Enroll them in sports programs? Make financial provision for their future education? Teach them how to be responsible citizens?

While all of these are unquestionably worthwhile endeavors, Drescher lists one thing that he firmly believes surpasses all others.

“If I were starting my family again,” he says in the opening statement of his book, “I would love the mother of my children more.” For myself, looking back on almost 53 years of marriage as a husband, father and grandfather, I would have to say that’s about the best piece of counsel you could ever receive! Hand in hand with that the complementary advice for Moms is identical. The best thing you can ever do for your children is love their Dad more!

What’s so good about that to me is that it doesn’t matter where you fit in the socio-economic bracket, whether your Dad’s a lawyer and your Mom’s a real estate agent, or if your Mom’s a homemaker and your Dad’s a laborer, this simple piece of advice can be put into practice and achieved by every Mom and Dad. And here’s the outcome; when children see visible and demonstrable love flowing between their parents, it leaves a deep impression on their lives. It inculcates in them a security, a stability, and a sacredness of life that is gained in no other way.

Now retired, but having been a pastor for almost 45 years I’ve been in enough homes to notice the difference between children who see love flowing between their parents, and children who don’t. It was the Apostle Paul in the Bible who gave a strong directive to husbands. In the Bible’s Book of Ephesians he said to these husbands in the church, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her.” (The Bible, Ephesians 5:26). Paul knew that a wife’s greatest need was to be loved by her husband, but he also knew I believe that when children saw this visible love flowing between their Moms and Dads it gave them a deep sense of security.

I don’t know about you, but I find there are simply too many children today on medication, too many with complex problems, too many with anxiety disorders, too many living within the context of domestic conflict and instability, too many living in noise and chaos. One wonders if a lot of their problems cannot be traced back to the lack of mutual love they see in the lives of their parents.

This Feb. 14, St. Valentine’s Day, do something nice for your wife, the mother of your children, and don’t let it stop there. Stick a little note in that bouquet of red roses or atop that box of chocolates. Keep it simple. Tell her you want to love her more. Make St. Valentine’s Day a new beginning.

After all, it’s not just her you’re doing this for. You’re doing it for your children, and your grandchildren, for the greatest thing you can ever do for them throughout your whole life is love their mother and their grandmother. Believe me, that’s the gospel truth!

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