"You are raising a very nice family there, Mom."
"Thank you very much," I answered.
"No, no," came his sincere reply, "thank YOU."
The stranger's affirmation was one of the most meaningful compliments I have ever received. As a family of six with four young children, we draw frequent comments from strangers. Some are encouraging, some are expressions of wonderment, and occasionally we encounter baffled bewilderment. Such comments are an expression of the varied cultural perspectives toward children these days: from worthwhile challenge, to foreign concept, to social and environmental burden. There is a broad commentary on our lives!
The reason this stranger's compliment meant so much to me is because it resonated with the wider mission that T and I see for our lives as parents: namely, that we are serving our neighbor, society, the world, through our parenthood. Our children are gifts we treasure. We strive to raise them to also be gifts to the world: beacons of hope, soldiers of peace and laborers of love.
The stranger's sentiment of gratefulness for our parenting was touching; one I intend to pass along to other parents in the future.