When you’re a parent, it’s hard to live in the moment.
It’s a constant struggle between telling yourself to relax and trying to prepare for the future. We rush through chores and errands, feeling like we need to get everything done. Often, without realizing it, we’re missing out on the most important parts of life.
Most recently, a mother named Leanne received unexpected parenting advice from an elderly stranger.
Leanne, who runs the blog “Life Happens When”, had been shopping at the store with her sons when an elderly man approached her. At the time, her cart was loaded with food and children, and the man felt compelled to stop and tell her how cute the boys were.
The senior chatted with Leanne and her children for a few moments before going on his way. Later, however, Leanne spotted him in another part of the store.
Upon seeing the family, the man walked up to the mother with a serious look on his face. “I need to tell you something,” he said.
He then told her a story that she’ll never forget. In a Facebook post, Leanne wrote:
“He then began a story about when his son was five years old. His son had asked him to build a birdhouse. He told him no because he was really busy with ‘important’ things for work.”
“He watched his disappointed five-year-old slump off without crying or making a scene and suddenly felt terrible for breaking his son’s heart.”
“He called his son back to him. Together they went to the store to buy the materials, and they built the birdhouse.”
“To make a long story short he said, 40 years later, he can’t remember anything about the work he was doing or what made it so important.”
“Then he looked me in the eyes and said, ‘But we still have that birdhouse.”
“My eyes immediately flooded with tears,” she continued.
Although Leanne spends most of her time with her children, she knows she’s not always ‘present’. She admits that sometimes she does activities half-heartedly, fussing at the kids and getting distracted by chores and her cellphone.
The elderly man’s message resonated with Leanne, inspiring her to slow down and be more intentional with her family.
She says sometimes God puts people in our paths for a reason— sometimes to deliver a message we need to hear. “The next time a stranger comes to you with something to say, be open to the message,” she wrote. “It might change your life!’
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