Part Two of Living on Purpose
“Being a parent is the most important job anyone could ever do.”
I read that statement by Christian rock legend Larry Norman when I was six months pregnant with my first baby, and I was completely flabbergasted. I mean, really?
To me, important jobs were things like being a politician, a school principal, a doctor, or a commercial aircraft pilot. How did parenting rank with those?
The thought stopped me in my tracks. I was fluey, miserable, pregnant – and I was about to embark on the most important job of my life. It wasn’t a very glamourous start to my big new career, but then, being a parent could never be described as glamourous.
That moment was a turning point for me, as it gave me a new perspective on being a parent.
But here’s the thing. Recently, I have become aware of the other side of the story . . . If being a parent is the most important thing someone could ever do, then my sisters and I are the result of our Mum and Dad’s most important job ever. We are a living testament to their hard work, dedication and love.
Maybe it sounds like I am idolising them, but to be honest my parents were not perfect by any stretch. Dad was badly affected by his wartime experiences and suffered with undiagnosed (and so untreated) Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. My mother ended up with cancer when I was eight years old, and died when I was 16. Both had their imperfections and difficulties, which impacted on us four girls.
I could easily focus on the bad stuff. There is lots of it. But right now, today, I choose to forgive them for all the bad things. I want to remember them for the good: the happy home they tried to create; the life they gave us and how they loved us through all the good and bad; they taught us how to live in the world. I would like to think I honour their love, sweat and tears by being the person I am.
But what the heck, even if they did nothing that was good, I can still honour them for giving me life because I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. On top of everything, I know that “honouring your parents” – the sixth commandment given to Moses – comes with a blessing: “so that you may live long in the land.” (Exodus 20:12)
So, this is my most recent moment of truth: Treasuring my mother (and my dad) has a positive long term consequence for me.
What about you? Do you see yourself as the outcome of your parents’ biggest job ever? Is there anything you need to change as you consider your relationship with them? Can you ever forgive them?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this!