- 19/3/2006 <--Prev : Next-->
Is there a magic cut-off period when offspring become accountable for
their own actions?
Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached
spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, "It's their
life," and feel nothing?
When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for
doctors to put a few stitches in my son's head. I asked, "When do you
stop worrying?" The nurse said, "When they get out of the accident
stage." My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and
heard how one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class,
and was headed for a career digging ditches. As if to read my mind, a
teacher said, "Don't worry, they all go through this stage and then
you can sit back, relax and enjoy them." My mother just smiled
faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to
ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open. A friend said,
"They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry, in a few years, you
can stop worrying. They'll be adults." My mother just smiled faintly
and said nothing.
By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was
still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle there
was nothing I could do about it. My mother just smiled faintly and
I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their
frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments.
My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying
and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by
my mother's warm smile and her occasional, "You look pale. Are you
all right? Call me the minute you get home. Are you depressed about
Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is
concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail
of human frailties and the fears of the unknown?
Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest
form of life?
One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me,
"Where were you? I've been calling for 3 days, and no one answered. I
I smiled a warm smile, but I said nothing.
The torch has been passed.
Live A Life That Matters
Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten,
pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the
you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built;
Not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or
sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will
feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live
those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.