LOVE: The Greatest Gift

I am with my parents this week. My sister and I have left behind work, our own families, and all of our other responsibilities to spend the week walking through a few days of uncertainties with our dad. Tomorrow is the big heart test. We wouldn’t have it any other way than for us to be here to support mom and help them both make good, informed decisions.

As I have listened to my mom and dad lovingly care for each other, I was reminded that great parenting begins with two great people simply loving each other and treating those in their home with love and respect. Their last child left their home almost 25 years ago, and they have been doing this for 56 years. I’ve been around for the majority of those years, and I marvel at their relationship…but that was simply the beginning of a home built on love and respect.

I have pondered the question, “How does one couple raise a family of children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren who ALL seem to adore and respect them?” What can young parents do from the beginning that will instill a love for home and family into their children?

My trips home are usually filled with great noise—the beautiful noise of a family. It is rare for my sister and me to be alone with our parents without that noise. In the quietness, I see the same love, respect, and honor practiced in their everyday lives that they show on the big stage of life when everyone is watching. I am confident that great parenting is about love, respect, kindness, and a devotion to family when no one is around BUT family.

Remember that loving your baby, taking the time to listen to an enthusiastic child tell another silly joke, showing a small act of kindness to your spouse when you would rather not put forth the effort, or putting down the phone and refusing to answer a text or read another Facebook status until family needs are met requires a deliberate commitment. It doesn’t happen by accident.

One day you and your parents will reach the golden years of life. My wish for each one of you is that you will be surrounded by children who love you the way I, my sister, and my brother (who lives locally and enjoys them every day) love and adore our parents. You see, they were not and are not perfect nor did they read and understand all the latest parenting tips. They simply love. They love unconditionally. Common sense parenting is not always common. Trust your instincts. Your children will certainly benefit and the rewards will be amazing. Whoever said, “Love conquers all,” was certainly on the right path.

Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.

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