In all the hustle and bustle of young parenthood, it can be oh-so-easy to forget all the reminders from older, wiser parents to “cherish the little years.”
But it is in these moments that the perspective of older parents can be the most valuable, and give us a new, fresh perspective on the long-term goal of parenting.
No matter what else we have going on in our lives, how long our to-do list is, or how tall the pile of laundry has gotten, remembering what is truly important as our little ones grow is vital for any parent.
Busy mom Leanne recently shared a charming encounter she had with an elderly man who stopped to chat with her children at the grocery store, and later “made a beeline” back to her to share a beautiful story that puts parenthood in perspective.
She shared her story on Facebook:
Have you ever had a conversation with a total stranger and later realize that person must have been sent by God?
That’s what happened to me the other day. I was pushing my shopping cart filled to the brim with children and food through the store when an older gentleman approached us. He saw the kids and couldn’t resist coming over to talk to us. He carried on about how cute they were and asked them several questions. Thankfully, my kids were cooperative and answered his questions. After chatting with us briefly, he went on his way.Advertisement - story continues below
A little while later, he made a beeline back to us.
He looked straight at me and said, ‘I want to tell you something.’ He then began a story about when his son was five years old. His son had asked him to build a birdhouse. He told him no because he was really busy with ‘important’ things for work.
He watched his disappointed five year old slump off without crying or making a scene, and suddenly he felt terrible for breaking his son’s heart. He called his son back to him. Together they went to the store to buy the materials and they built the birdhouse.
To make a long story short (he said), 40 years later, he can’t remember anything about the work he was doing or what made it so important.
Then, he looked me in the eyes and said, ‘But we still have that birdhouse.’ My eyes immediately flooded with tears. Even though I’m with my kids for the majority of our days, I don’t always devote myself fully to them. I halfheartedly do activities with them. I fuss at them. I get distracted by chores and my to do list and my phone.Advertisement - story continues below
This man may never know just how much he stopped me in my tracks, helped me adjust my priorities, and inspired me to slow down and be more intentional with my family.
God puts people in our path to help show us the way. The next time a stranger comes to you with something to say, be open to the message. It might change your life!
Life happens when we talk to strangers!”
How often do we find ourselves brushing off our children because of the things that seem more urgent? Next time you feel the pressure of adulthood overshadowing your availability to your children, just remember that birdhouse, and what you’ll have to remember of the little years when your children are grown.