It’s the people we are with that are important

Q: Once again, I couldn’t afford to give my kids the memorable summer vacation that their friends all seem to experience. It’s discouraging. Do you think they’ll resent me for it?

Jim: One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned about parenting happened about 10 years ago. I headed out on a road trip with my brother and my son to pick up a fifth-wheel trailer I’d purchased online. Nine hundred miles from home, my truck broke down on the highway. We were stranded. The repairs cost me a lot of money and four days of my vacation.

I don’t mind telling you I was miserable and frustrated. We were stuck in a small hotel and had to eat every meal at the same restaurant next door. By the time my truck was fixed, we just headed back home.

I remember pulling onto the highway and stewing over how terrible everything had turned out. That was when my then-seven-year-old son turned to me with a huge smile and said, “Thanks, Dad. That was a great vacation. I think one of the best ever!”

I had been upset all week about abandoning my vacation plans back there along the highway. My son just wanted to spend time together. The stuff we did wasn’t nearly as important as who he was with.

My son taught me a great lesson that day. And I think in the long run, your children will feel the same way. What we do isn’t as important as who we’re with — the people we love.

Jim Daly is an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program.


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