Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

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The oft-underestimated importance of family

I haven’t blogged about anything in too long a time, I suppose. I was reading a story today that I thought I would share; it’s about the importance of family, and how powerful an effect reminding others of it can have. I’ll be quoting the story here. The setting is that several years ago, Craig Cardon and his wife Debbie attended a dinner for members of the Dean’s Alumni Leadership Council at the Harvard Kennedy School:

After the dinner the president of the council invited the council members and their companions to stand and introduce themselves. He suggested that each person share educational and professional background information, along with what each considered to be his or her most significant accomplishment. Because of the way the room was organized, our table would be the last to participate.

[My wife] later explained to me that as she saw all in attendance standing and listing their many academic degrees and professional accomplishments, she thought, ‘What can I possibly say to these people who have been ambassadors, high government officials, educators, professionals, and leaders of gigantic enterprises? I don’t even have my bachelor’s degree yet.

Her mind continued racing: ‘I’ve got to think of something to say. No, I’ve got to find an excuse to leave.’ Then, in an instant, she thought, ‘I’m going to pray.’

She said a silent, earnest prayer, pleading with the Lord for His help and direction. In that moment, a voice came into her mind with perfect clarity. It said, ‘Debbie, who in this room has achieved more important things in this life or has had more amazing experiences than you? You are a mother in Zion. You have brought eight children into this world. Those who are of age are happily married and are having children of their own. What is more important than that? Debbie, get up and tell these people with power what you have done.’

At that moment, the microphone was passed to our table. I had seen her shifting in her chair and looking a bit uneasy, so I extended my hand to take the microphone, thinking to give her additional time to prepare herself. Imagine my surprise when her hand stretched out in front of mine and literally grabbed the microphone.

She confidently stood, and with an elegance difficult to describe, she said ‘A few years ago I accompanied my husband here to the Harvard Kennedy School. And my most important achievement is that I am the mother of 8 children and the grandmother of 18 grandchildren.’

With that statement, spontaneous applause erupted in the room. It was the only applause of the entire evening. She shared a few additional thoughts relating to the central, societal role of the family and the happiness found therein. Then she handed me the microphone and sat down. I stood and added simply, ‘I’m her husband.’

The significant of what the Lord did through [my wife] was evidenced by the fact that for the remainder of the evening we were inundated with questions about families, children, and marital harmony–subjects eminently more important than anything else that had been addressed. Because she had earnestly sought direction from the Spirit and had exercised the faith and courage to respond to what she was told, the Lord had magnified her in a powerful way in furthering His purposes.

I really enjoyed this, because it helped remind me of what is really important, and also how this message seemed opposed to the message that the world is currently giving. The greatest accomplishments are not to be found in a lab or a meeting or a presentation or a discovery, but rather in the home. I hope to someday have a family of my own, and when that happens I hope I never lose sight that (next to the Lord himself) they are the most important things in this world to me.