by April Osteen Simons
Lying in the hospital bed, the elderly man heard someone come into his room. He was medicated, but coherent. Although he couldn’t see who the person was, he assumed it was his doctor. Nearing the end of his life, he was flooded with emotional thoughts concerning his family. He spoke out in a soft, but determined voice, “Doctor, have I told you about my son?”
The doctor eagerly came to the elderly man’s bedside. The old man took his hand and politely asked him to sit down. “Oh, doctor, let me tell you about my boy…
I’m so proud of him. He’s grown to be a remarkable man. You know he was a great football player…one of the best on the team. He never gave his mother or me any trouble and he was such a joy to raise. I can honestly tell you that he is the best son a father could possibly have.”
After a little while, the man began to get tired. He patted the doctor’s hand and said, “I just wanted to let you know about my son and how much I love him.” He slowly let go of his hand and thanked the doctor for listening.
Without saying a word, the doctor quietly walked toward the door, never taking his eyes off of the elderly man. He wanted to remember this moment. It was a moment he had waited for all of his life.
You see, this doctor wasn’t really a doctor at all. He was actually the man’s son—the very one he was talking about.
In all of his years growing up, his father had never expressed his love for his son, let alone that he was proud of him. He knew, deep down, his dad loved him, but he just wanted to hear him say it. Finally, as his dad was slipping away, he heard the words he had so desperately longed to hear. And even as a grown man, those words brought life and strength to his heart.
Whenever I think about this story, it reminds me of what’s most important in life. God has given me a great family and I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I had taken the time to tell them how much I love them. I don’t want them to ever question how much they mean to me, but to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my life is truly fulfilled and better because of them.
Our families need to know we are their biggest cheerleaders. Despite mistakes, shortcomings, and failures, they need to know we believe in them and we are FOR them and not against them. Listen, the world can be mean and cruel. Our loved ones need to know WE are their safe place where they will be built up and not torn down.
There’s a proverb that says, A wise person BUILDS their house, but the foolish one tears it down by their own efforts. Here’s a good place to ask, Are you a builder or a tearer-downer? (I may or may not have made up that word) Do you use your words to describe your situation or change your situation? Hey, we all make mistakes, but why not make a decision today to guard what we allow to come out of our mouth!
How about we make extra efforts to speak LIFE. Let’s talk about the things our kids are doing right instead of magnifying what they are doing wrong. Let’s be vocal about how proud we are of who they are becoming. BE THE BUILDER! Let them know in the midst of the craziness going on, you are someone they can count on to be a positive force in their life.
I love what I heard someone say, “Don’t speak to the fool in the people you love; speak to the king and queen.” You see, if you speak to the fool, it will more than likely show up. Oh, but if you speak to the king and queen, they will rise to the occasion.
The Bible says Death and LIFE are in the power of the tongue. In other words, the choice is OURS to make.
Choose to be a fountain and not a drain.
Choose to bring healing.
Choose to bring comfort.
Choose to encourage.
Choose to be the difference maker in the people you love.
Life really is what YOU make it. Don’t live with regret. Tell your family how much you love them every single day. Go give them a hug! If you’ve never done it before, BEGIN TODAY! Don’t pass down something just because it’s the way you grew up. Don’t repeat the past if the past isn’t worth repeating! Plant a new family tree. Love, love and then LOVE some more! Life is too short to wish you would’ve…JUST DO IT!
Remember, you are leaving a legacy. Make sure it’s one that you can be proud of.