If there’s one thing that fuels life’s gas tank, it’s appreciation. Showing appreciation is a simple way of communicating someone’s value to them. That’s why we celebrate things like Administrative Professionals Day. We set aside one day a year to show our appreciation to those who most likely fade into the background the other three-hundred sixty four days. We check it off our ‘to-do’ list and consider it good enough. But when we’re fostering relationships with those most important to us, one day a year doesn’t suffice; And even more so in a marriage.
It’s easy, in this chaotic mess we call ‘living’, to take for granted our significant other. Connection gets replaced with communication, and intimacy gets exchanged with formality. But as a husband, it’s my responsibility to make sure my wife is nurtured, not only by completing honey-do-lists, but also with words of acclamation. As a father, it’s also important for me to intentionally set the standard from which my children will one day use to create their own life stories. I want my kids to see their Dad uplifting their Mom, verbally, emotionally and physically, as a habitual practice. I want both my spouse and children to know that the man who loves them the most acts like he does, both in word and deed. So today, for my kids and my wife, I write this:
Dear Tiffany, you’re enough. Just being you is enough. I could go on and on about all the tangible things you do for this family, washing countless dishes that line the sink after a single meal that fed 7 bellies, navigating mounds of laundry to ensure we all have clean underwear, but those aren’t the things that matter most. What matters most is the unconditional love you give us, even when we don’t deserve it. What matters most is seeing you wear your heart on your sleeve as you care for us. What matters most is the smile on your face when you hold our babies, and the concern in your eyes when you hear their slightest whimper. We don’t tell you this enough, but we appreciate you; not in light of what you do for us, but because we love you deeply. And who you are is who we love.
There’s an unattributed quote that says, “Too many people get caught up in what could be instead of appreciating what is . Don’t fall into that trap . Appreciate what you have and who you have, because the future can take it all away from you.” And that’s my heart’s cry. I never want complacency to prevent the ones I love from knowing how much I appreciate them.
This year will mark ten years married to my beautiful wife and I’m still working on daily conveying my appreciation to her. I do realize the important significance of it, though, and I’ll continue to grow in practice. But having my children discover that love and appreciation are the most important attributes in any successful relationship is such a wonderfully rewarding byproduct of honoring my wife. It’s certainly something to be proud of.
Chris Moss, with his wife Tiffany, keep company with five lively children. He currently resides on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri. Chris is the Missional Co-Founder of the grass-roots community organization The Serve Movement. He's a writer, a dreamer, and a voice for the underdog. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thechrismoss).
I think most of us are keenly aware of the fact that moms often are overworked and under-appreciated. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and not recognize that our kids and their moms are like dinghies and ships passing in the night. Did I mention everything from food to field trip money to clean underwear, being thrown from the ships, onto the dinghies? How easy it is for us, as dads, to forget that we are largely responsible in helping teach our children to honor not only their moms, but others, as well.
One of the things I found so effective is to simply model honoring behaviors for our children. I realize that sounds simple and sweet, but consistently putting it into practice is a whole other story. We get tired; we get stressed; and we sometimes forget to speak to each other as adults in an honoring manner. All the while, our kids are watching.
But, it’s not just the way we talk, it may even be more in what we do. My wife grew up with three older brothers, and then she and I had three boys of our own. I lucked out in that I married a woman who already was well-versed in the ways of the belching, scratching, high-energy shenanigans of young males. That made acts of service, such as the boys putting away their pile of baseball gear, having table manners, and doing the dishes, cause her to feel extremely appreciated. She knew it wasn’t in their wheelhouses, and she knew they most certainly would rather be throwing a ball or digging through a bin of Legos than clearing the table, making these kindnesses more valuable than all of the Mother’s Day cards and flowers in the world. (But, don’t kid yourselves, moms like the cards and flowers, too.)
While May is a month in which we specifically honor mothers, it also brings us Memorial Day, and another opportunity for exposing our children to not only what it means to honor, but also what it means to be honorable. Because we lived so far from extended family while our boys were growing up, we began flying with them when they were babies. Once they were old enough to walk and somewhat audibly form the words, “Thank you for your service,” we had them on the lookout for men and women of our Armed Forces in every airport we frequented. But, we didn’t start this by pushing our toddlers at strangers in uniform. We had long before been holding them in our arms, as we shook hands with those we honor, chatting about where they were stationed, telling them we appreciated them and that we prayed for them.
Our kids didn’t see a huge display of self-righteous goody-two-shoe proportions. It was something we meant, and something they grew up thinking was the norm. It gave my wife and me great joy to see our boys flip out at a sporting event or grocery store when spying an older gentleman sporting a WWII ball cap. Forget Kobe and LeBron, there was a combat veteran in the house.
Moms and those who serve our country, are not the only ones deserving of our honor, and the honor of our children. Firefighters, policeman, teachers, nurses, the list is endless. Ultimately, we should all strive to model what it is to honor, and be honorable, in all walks of life with all types of people. We are really great at telling our kids, “If you want friends, be friendly.” Shouldn’t the same go for honor? Never underestimate the power of honor . . . not just in what you say, but most importantly, in what you demonstrate.
Kevin Weaver, CEO of Network211 and father of three sons, lives with his wife KyAnne in Springfield, MO. He enjoys spending time with family, hunting and watching University of Kansas basketball with his boys! He can be reached at email@example.com
Where It All BeginsIn the year 1973, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case made it legal in the United States of America for a mother to terminate the life of her unborn child.
I was born in 1975, two years later.
Praise the LORD, my Mom knew who and what I was: a precious gift of God.
I could tell you about many things my mother did for me as I was growing up, but I’ll assume you already know the kinds of things mothers do. Maybe your mom did some things mine did not. Your mother may have coached your T-ball team, made snacks for Boy Scouts, or taken you to piano lessons. My Mom did some of those things too; other things, she did not.
If you’re reading this, though, it’s safe to say our Moms did one thing the same: they chose to bear us in the womb and give birth to us.
I’m not going to debate the abortion issue here, but it is worth noting that all of us under age 42 are survivors of a world that said for the first several months of our lives, our moms could have made a different choice legally, and we wouldn’t be here today to argue about rights . . . or anything else for that matter.
Biologically, moms are indispensable to human life. However, there is another class of mothers, the Great Moms, who raise and care for children. These Moms are a treasure beyond worth. It doesn’t even matter if a child is adopted, fostered, or naturally part of one’s family. Great Moms love their children, whoever they are.
Good Dads Care for Great Moms
As an aspiring Good Dad, how do I teach my kids how that their Mom is a Great Mom? First, I avoid treating her like she’s anything other than a Great Mom.
Would I appear disappointed when she doesn’t make my favorite dinner? No.
Am I going to forget to give her flowers on her birthday? No.
Am I going to make snide comments to the kids behind her back or overrule her, even when I might not 100% agree with a choice she made? Never.
These are just a few of a long list of things NOT to do. But what am I going to do to teach my kids how great their Mom is?
Good Dads put Great Moms first. Her needs are important. I show this when I turn off the TV, the game system, or the Internet and talk to her. When I give back rubs that aren’t asked for. When I bring her surprises and gifts that delight her. When I let her pick the date-night movie and restaurant. When I give her a day or weekend “off work” from being a stay-at-home mom. All are great acts to show how much a Great Mom is priceless.
More is caught than taught with kids. They learn how great their Mom is by how I treat her, how I speak about her when she’s not around, how I use my tone of voice during our conversations, how I work beside her as a partner, and how I defend her from physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial dangers.
My goal as I aspire to be a Good Dad is to make sure my kids see how much I appreciate, cherish, and love their Great Mom.
Sid Whiting is the father of three and the husband of one. He lives with his wife Gail and their children in Springfield, Missouri. He also enjoys real estate investing, serving in the 135th Army Band as a percussionist and bass guitarist, and plays in the Praise Band "Soul Purpose" and the "Hallelujah Bells" hand bell choir. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WiseSteward).
I grew up in Seattle, Washington. One summer when I was home from college I took my dad hiking on Mt. Rainer.
Now our family, like every family, had stresses and hurts. I won’t go into the details. We all have hurts and we all have stories to tell. But suffice it to say our family had stresses and hurts.
My mother was sometimes an anxious person and the anxiety expressed itself in anxious ways. We knew she was hurting but it was not always easy. My dad, by comparison, was a quiet and patient man.
As my dad and I stopped for lunch on the Skyline Trail, I said, “Dad, I sure love you. It hurts to see mom pick at you the way she does.”
My father paused in a measured fashion. He took a bite of his sandwich. He replied quietly. “I would never let any man speak unkindly about your mother. I would appreciate it if you didn’t either.”
My dad was not angry. He was not aggressive. But in his quiet, patient way, he was teaching me something. My dad was teaching me to love and honor my mother. I was to love and cherish my mother for no other reason than that she was my mother.
My mother passed away 3 years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss her and think of her. My mom was feisty and fiery. She wasn’t perfect. But she was my mother. She never met a stranger. She laughed loud and hard. She was interested in people. She was fun and funny. She loved the outdoors and she loved the arts. She loved it all. She was larger than life.
She asked me once, “Was I a good wife to your father.” What could I say?
They say the best gift you give your children is to love their mother – or father. My mother loved my father for 63 years. She took care of him in his failing days. She tucked him into bed and kissed him “good night.” My father passed from this life with my mother next to him. My mother was a great wife. And in this she is the best mother in the world.
I have three boys, Clayton, Aaron, and Jason. If I were to teach my boys anything, if there is a lesson in life I would like them to have, it would be a lesson my father taught to me: You never speak ill of your mother; never. You honor and treasure your mother – just as she is -- unconditionally. Make it your life’s business that your mother knows your love. Surprise her with little things. Appreciate the things she does each day. Never compare her to anyone else. Smile and laugh. She wants to see you happy.
I love my mother more than words and I miss her more than I can say. And I would want my boys to love their mother in much the same way.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at email@example.com