Monday, November 23, 2009

Family values

I see by the date of my last post that I've haven't prioritized blogging much for the past two weeks. In the past I would have made excuses, explained myself, and looked for your understanding, and your forgiveness. But this time I'm simply going to say I haven't prioritized it and move on. Because that's the truth no matter my reasons why.

Several topics come to mind for today, but the one I choose to focus on is Family Values… perhaps because I just returned from a lovely visit with my parents and brothers and their families in Ontario.

Inspired by a gut feeling that I needed to prioritize my aging parents and spend some quality time with them, and this feeling confirmed by a program we are currently doing at church called 'One Life, No Regrets', I jumped on an airplane last Wednesday and headed East… to my childhood home. I spent a wonderful three days with family… eating, talking, walking, hot-tubbing, and eating again… and it fulfilled my heart's desire to love them all as best I could in the time I had. Bob and the kids stayed here and managed incredibly well without me. Thanks, Babe!

And it seems that no matter the experience these days, there is this part of me that finds something to be learned from it. Sometimes that can be a little over-analytical. Sometimes I find myself to be a tad tiresome, because of this need to take something other than the pure experience, and learn something from it, or apply a deeper meaning to it.

My visit with my parents was a bit like that, only I recognized it within myself and was able to take a chill pill and enjoy the moments, rather than pursuing my own agenda for deep meaning and deep impact. Thank God I just enjoyed the moments with them.

Another case in point.

A couple of years ago… we were enjoying a bowl of ice cream for dessert after dinner, and one of the kids said to Bob and I, 'Ice cream should be a family value'. Yes, we all agreed. It is something that we all enjoy, and even if it's not entirely healthy to have too much of this good thing, we can enjoy it in moderation as an entire family. What a cool family value, we all thought.

The very next day I got on my computer and made a lovely little poster with the word 'Ice Cream' as an acronym for all the important yet slightly hidden values of our family… values of character and action, values that we aspire to. Suddenly the family value of 'Ice Cream' had taken on a much deeper meaning for me, and I saw the opportunity to engage the family in a life lesson or a launching pad for deeper things.

So, I posted my meaningful bit of writing on the fridge, and showed it to the family and experienced… a very lukewarm response.

But wait, wasn't the point simply to enjoy a bowl of ice cream together, to make sure that ice cream made it onto my grocery list? Was our son's thought of making ice cream a family value really about the deeper meaning at all, or was I making something out of something for the purposes of what? What I needed and what they needed were two entirely different things!

I remembered this experience the other day with a smile, because that piece I wrote about the 'Ice Cream Family Values' is not on our fridge anymore. Yet, there is still ice cream inside the freezer, and we still enjoy a bowl together as a family quite often.

And, we still consider ice cream to be a family value… plain old often vanilla ice cream… no fancy toppings or deeper meanings required.

And that's OK with me. Just like visiting my parents can be just that… a lovely visit with my family.



  1. This really spoke to my heart. My parents are aging and as I age as well I see more of what you wrote about. As always, I go away from your blog feeling uplifted and with food for thought.



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