In August of 2011 I went to a funeral of a dear lady. She was a sweet Italian lady who reminded me of my own mother. She would do things like my mom did and she would wear these house gowns that both my mom and my grandma wore. This is amusing to me because there must be some sort of Italian ladies store that sells these gowns because I have never found them, despite looking many times at a variety of stores. I didn’t really know her all that well, she is the mother of a friend of ours. And yet, I knew her. It’s a bond that is hard to explain.

I honestly don’t remember much of the funeral. I remember seeing her husband sitting there. I remember thinking what it must be like for him to sit in that room as people were saying goodbye to his wife and best friend from so many years.

I also remember the words of her daughter (our friend). She stood up and fought back tears. She smiled big and she said:

Mom lived well

I was immediately struck by the power of those words. I hope that my children will say the same thing some day. I hope that my children will be able to look at a room full of people and say, “Dad lived well. He was a good man.”

But what does that mean? What will matter to them? Should what matters to them, matter to them? The scariest thing is that I have the opportunity right now to begin the process of helping them figure that out. My input will shape what causes them to decide what is important. I will impart values to them.

Some day, my kids will be adults. To a large degree, who they are as adults will be shaped by my wife and I.

When I was a kid, I knew a man who was renowned for being very stingy with his money. Some people might have said he was, “tight” or “cheap.” As an older adult, he needed expensive around the clock care. Guess who wasn’t excited about this? His children. Please don’t missunderstand me, his kids are responsible for their own choices as an adult, but who trained them to worry about money over people? He did.

So today as you read this, I hope that you will raise children who can say, “Mom lived well.” I hope that I will raise children who can say, “Dad, lived well.” What better thing could they say on the day that awaits for us all?

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