Parenting – Our greatest contribution

I was driving home today after dropping off my youngest daughter at soccer camp, thinking of which top country music concerts I wanted to attend that year. I was using my wife’s car so I had turned the station over to JR Country. She hates it when i do that, she is a Top 40 kinda gal so it is an ongoing radio war.

Anyhow, Alan Jackson’s “Small Town Southern Man” was playing when I fired up the old Subaru and drove out of the parking lot. As I pulled into traffic, my favourite line in the whole song rang out and I immediately thought to myself… “Self, what a great blog topic!” So when I got home I started penning this post.

Now before I go any further, I suppose I should explain to those who are country phobic and never listen to gods music, “Small Town Southern Man” is about an old guy who lives his whole life working hard for his family and doing the best he can to be a good person. When his time comes and his days are numbered he is at peace with it because he knows “his greatest contribution. Is the ones you leave behind” the sentiment in this single line is golden.

Just think what the ramifications would be if we all parented with that verse as our mantra? I think we would be living in a much better world. Instead we live in a “what’s in it for me world” that pays lip service to this line but if truth be told, it gets harder and harder to find people who truly live up to its sentiment.

Our media, our financial institutions, our political leaders and yes even some parents, are teaching kids by example, to take first and give back later BUT only if it suits them. To do no good deed, unless someone has done one for you first and of course he or she who dies with the most things wins!

In North America, kids are taught that immortality is found in fame, money and possessions. Making a contribution to this world has become all about taking as much as you can, then turning around and yelling “LOOK AT ME!”

But as Alan Jackson’s song so correctly spells out, a good life is pretty simple… Treat others with kindness and generosity and your greatest contribution WILL be the ones you leave behind.

If you parent with this in mind, you can’t possibly go wrong.

More Old School Parenting Wisdom: The Narcissists Among Us

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