In my work I regularly meet with people such as church pastors over coffee or a meal. We talk about a range of matters but one of the topics that seems to come up again and again is family. My wife and my children are incredibly important to me so it should be no surprise that they are always in my thoughts and conversations.
Recently I was chatting to a pastor and once again our conversation turned to our families. We both shared stories of how incredible our respective children are, how quickly they’ve grown up and how proud we are of them.
That conversation about our children reminded me of a time long, long ago.
My dad worked on a ship travelling up and down the Western Australian coast. He was away from home a lot.
I still remember, one day when I was quite young, visiting the ship dad was working on when it was docked in Fremantle. I’m the youngest of five siblings and for whatever reason, on this day I was there with my eldest two brothers.
A man who also worked on the ship walked past and a conversation began. Once he was told we were ‘Tom’s kids’ he said something to the effect of, “You must be … “ and then mentioned our names. “Your dad talks about you all the time.” He gave us the impression that our dad was very proud of his children.
Wow! That was a revelation. Dad talked about us.
I would never have thought that when he was away from our family for weeks at a time that one of his popular topics of conversation would have been his children.
I don’t know why I found it so surprising but I did. It meant that I might just matter to dad.
All of that got me thinking.
Do my children know that I talk about them, endlessly?
Does James know that earlier this week while talking to a group of people about him someone mentioned how I immediately puffed out my chest with pride? They caught a glimpse of how much I love James in my facial expressions and body language as well as the words I was using.
Would Emily ever think that I often talk about how incredibly talented she is and that I’m so proud of her? Would she know that the picture I paint in others’ minds of her is of an incredible young woman who I love so very much, because that’s exactly how I see her?
Do both Emily and James know that even though I’ve had some amazing highlights in my life, they top them all? Do they know that even in the busyness of my life and work they are never far from my mind and my conversations?
Emily and James, you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell you …. your dad talks about you …. all the time.
If you’re a parent, do your children know that you talk about them to others?
Do they know that when you’re away from them and you can choose to talk about anything in the world, you talk about them? Do they know that you’re always on your mind and in your heart? Maybe it’s worth telling them today.
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My wife and have one daughter, 8 months old. My prayer is that she will be on my heart and mind in 10 years as often as she is right now.