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The 3 Greatest Lessons My Parents Taught Me

This evening I received the following email from my mom:

Last week in Sunday School Graham gave a good challenge for us–a question to ask our grown kids.  What were the 3 most important things I taught you when you were growing up?  I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say–even though it is a bit scary 

Well it got me thinking right away and it didn’t take me long to come up with my answers.  Looking back on my formative years it struck me that the most important things my parents taught me were not necessarily things they told me but those that I learned from observing their lives.

If it’s important my parents don’t give up on it and that’s unusual in today’s world! They never gave up on  the 8 us kids, even though there were countless times when we gave them plenty of reason to. They never gave up on each other and instead continually worked on the perfection of their marriage. They never gave up on the church despite having to deal with setbacks that would have driven others away.

Here is a little list of ways my parents have taught me faithfulness:

  • Pastoring one church and preaching every Sunday for over 30 years!
  • Raising 8 kids successfully
  • Maintaining a christian marriage for over 40 years
Without a doubt my parents are the most patient people I know.  In fact I have often thought that they were too patient, however, the older I get the more I question that assumption.  I remember well how patient my mom was when traveling salesmen came by.  She always made it clear that she wasn’t interested in buying what ever they were selling, yet she was patient and would never kick them out.  As any good salesman should, he would continue in hopes that she would buy.  On several occasions I remember that it was several hours before the poor guy would actually leave!

My parents also showed tremendous patience towards the church. It wasn’t unusually for people to stop by unannounced at inconvenient times.  My mom would always set another plate on the table and invited them in without a second thought.  It was so natural that I didn’t even realize how difficult that actually is until I got a family of my own!

I also observed my dad’s patience in regards to ministry.  Whenever there was a hot topic at the board meeting it seemed like he would be unusually quiet then I realized he was just waiting for everyone to say their piece before he weighed in.  He would never inject his opinion or talk over someone else.  The result was that when he did say something people listened.


At times growing up I heard pastor’s kids talk about how terrible it was growing up in a pastor’s family and how they regretted their father was always busy with the ministry and never spent time with them.  That was a foreign concept to me!  I know that both my parents are tremendously hard workers, yet somehow they managed to keep a balance.  I

never felt that I didn’t get enough time with my dad, on the contrary, he always seemed to have time for us!

The emphasis on family had a great impact on me and continues to shape the way I live my life even today!
Of course there are many more lessons that my parents taught me but these three came to my mind right away.

What about you? What are the 3 greatest lessons your parents taught you?

Let me know in the comments below.

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children!

My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Richard Ivance

    Caleb: I found your blog. Sorry I never looked here before. I liked your comments on good preaching. The three greatest things my parents taught me were: 1. Always do your best. My father was a little hard to please on doing your best, but he had faith in me to do well. 2. Always care for others. My parents always were finding people to help. 3. Always put God first in your life. It took me few years after I left home to really understand this one, but once did it made my life to full and fulfilling.

    • Dick, thanks for taking time to comment. I feel very privledged that I got the chance to meet your dad a couple of years ago when he was spry 104, I think! I can sure see how those lessons paid off in your life. It’s amazing to think about what our teaching and influence can do in the life of our children over the next 40 or even 50 years!

  • Good question, Caleb. I think my mom had the greatest positive impact on me. My dad was from the generation that thought his main role was to work and provide for his family…quality time and affection didn’t happen much. I respect him so much for his desire to provide but he and I never had a very close relationship until I became an adult and after my mom died. Yet, I do think I learned from him. He was dedicated to us…he just showed it differently.

    My mom, through her battle with cancer, I learned what it means to persevere through pain. I learned to cling to hope in the bad times.

    I also learned the beauty and need for laughter. My mom loved to laugh.

    • Eileen thanks for sharing, those are some great lessons. It’s interesting how our perspective on our parents change with age.