An interviewer once asked Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison how she had become such a great writer. Did she study a particular method? Read books to hone her craft? Study under famous authors?
To which Morrison laughed and replied, “Oh, no, that is not why I am a great writer. I am a great writer because when I was a little girl and walked into a room where my father was sitting, his eyes would light up. That is why I am a great writer. There isn’t any other reason.”*
How will I be remembered?
I find this story both encouraging and convicting. Encouraging, because it shows what a profound effect this man’s love for his daughter had upon her development. Convicting, because it begs the question, How will my children will remember me?
Will they remember a mother who took utter delight in their company? Or one who was too distracted to notice when they entered a room?
Will they recall eyes that danced as she listened to their stories with unfeigned interest? Or eyes that drifted back to an iPhone or computer screen before half a dozen words were uttered?
Will their minds replay the unceasing stream of affirmation, love, encouragement, and respect that flowed from their mother’s lips? Or will they be haunted by criticism, disapproval, and remarks made in anger or frustration?
Will they envision a mother who willingly laid aside projects, plans, and pastimes whenever she heard them call, “Look, Mom! Watch me, Mom! Mom! You’ve got to see this…”? Or will they remember a mom too busy to be bothered?
Will they remember a mother who smiled?
The mother I want my children to remember in the future is the mother I must be today. Right here. Right now.
How do you want your children to remember you? What steps will you take today to make today to make those memories happen?
*As quoted on page 128 of Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What