How to identify the more important things in life
When you were a kid, did your dad work hard and still come home and play with you? Or spend some other sort of great quality time with you? Mine did. And there was never a moment, during those times with him, where I had to wait for him to check his messages, or text somebody, or watch a silly video. For one thing, there was no such thing as a smartphone back then. But even if there had been, my Dad would have made sure we spent time together on more important things.
The more important things in life aren’t “things”.
Ask anybody who truly knows me, and they’ll say, “Yes, he is a techie guy.” In fact, as a pre-teen and teenager, my family called me “technical Tony”. They didn’t always mean it as a term of endearment, but that’s another story for another time. The point is…I enjoy technology. Seeing how the latest, greatest mobile device or laptop works enthralls and intrigues me. I think it’s all so incredibly cool.
But…I don’t place the value of my digital tools even close to the value of my relationships. That’s why I say the more important things in life aren’t things. They’re people. And your relationships with them. You need to place an extremely high value on your relationships. You know why? Because here on Earth they don’t last long.
Every thing here is temporary. Case and point…
Getting back to my Dad. He worked hard. For most of his working life he was a milkman. And this was back in the days when a milkman would deliver dairy products door-to-door. I remember going to work with him on a LOT of Saturdays. So, when I say he worked hard, I know what I’m talking about from personal experience. Getting up around 3 a.m. to be at the dairy plant in time to have his truck loaded and hitting the road by 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. Hauling a dolly into a cold storage area in his milk truck…stacked with cases of gallons, half gallons, and quarts of milk, juice, butter, and more.
Dad worked two routes each week. One was his Monday, Wednesday, Friday route. The other was Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. He delivered milk in some neighborhoods in Texas near NASA. In fact (as a side note) several of his customers were some of the first well-known astronauts.
Another side note (and true story) Dad made sure, on one of those Saturdays I was with him, I got to personally hand deliver a half gallon of ice cream to Neil Armstrong. For those of you born in this century…Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon. And little ol’ me handed him a container of Dutch chocolate rocky road ice cream! (I think that’s what it was)
Wow…talk about an astronomical rabbit trail. Anyway. Even on those long Saturdays, when I was helping Dad deliver milk, he spent lots of time with me. Not just telling me what to do, but also having conversations about the more important things in life. Things like what I was learning in math, science, and language classes. Other things like family and where I was going someday when I die. Yeah, even that. Those one-on-one times with my Dad were priceless. And I wouldn’t trade a second of them for all the cool technology in the world.
Dad died when he was only 51.
Don’t get me wrong…there were tough times with my Dad, too. He was a strict disciplinarian. And when I failed to do the right thing once in a while, sometimes there were serious consequences. But those times never overshadowed the times Dad spent with me showing me how to use tools and work on lawnmowers, bicycles, and even my first car. Or the times he spent building (yes, building) go-karts for my brother and I to test drive and blast around the block on.
Dad even showed us how to fly kites using our saltwater fishing rods and reels. He’d throw the football with us, in the street, during football season. He taught us the finer points of throwing a baseball with either hand. I remember even getting him to play tennis with me when I started up that sport in high school. And I remember it was the first sport where I could beat him. Guys might identify more with me on that…how it feels to first beat your dad at anything. Right?
My Dad was only 20 years older than me. That means he’s now been gone longer than he was around during my life. And I still think of him and so many of those special moments almost daily.
I’m not sure if he knows, right now, how important a role he played in my life. But I AM sure he knows, without a doubt, what the more important things in life are. He was (and is) a Christian. So, I know my Dad is “present with the Lord” right now. And Dad has experienced, firsthand for over 32 years, the ultimate relationship. It’s an awesome and incredible HOPE I have…to know I’ll see him again someday. And to know we’ll be eternal brothers in the presence of the one, true, living, loving Creator.
Interrupt temporary with eternal.
As you go through your day today…as you check your texts, instant messages, social media accounts, YouTube and Instagram videos, and even your eCommerce stats…take a pause. Look up. Look around. Pay attention to the ones you love. Talk to them. Embrace. Laugh. Enjoy the time. They won’t be here forever. You won’t either. Be you’ll all be somewhere forever. Talk about that. And be sure where you’re going. It matters more than any other message you’ll receive from any other source.
Are you good to go?
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