Quality vs. Quantity

The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.
(Martin Luther King, Jr)

Bring up a child by teaching him the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

My daughter often shares some story about how she has had to 'parent through' some difficult moment in raising her two boys. Occasionally, they are willful or stubborn; at others, they are cheerful and way too rambunctious. They break things, sneak snacks they shouldn't be eating that close to supper, and they forget their homework assignment just like the rest of kids. They learn at different paces, depending upon their interest in the subject. There rooms can be a total disaster, littered with all manner of 'stuff' they find important to them. At times, she shares how frustrated she is, while at others she shares the deepest of joy and celebration over some wonderful thing these boys have accomplished. Those ups and downs are part of parenting, aren't they? You take the good with the bad, the easy with the difficult. Why? You know one day they will be on their own and you will have had only a short span of time to instill your values into their lives, allowing good moral character to be formed over time. You trust they will 'do well' in whatever endeavors lay ahead, praying for their future to be fruitful and filled with all manner of 'good things'. You hope the quality of their lives will outweigh the 'quantity' of life every time, but you also pray for a goodly 'quantity' of live, don't you? Bringing up a child is hard work - even when you think you are 'off the clock' so to speak, you continue to parent throughout the course of your life. 

Parenting well is not just for those who are bringing up kiddos in their homes. It is also for those of us who will 'mentor' those we associate with in our workplaces, church groups, and neighborhood associations. A mentor is a preceptor - one who instructs, tutors, and guides another. Doesn't that closely resemble what we do as parents? We instruct our kiddos, tutoring them in the skills they will need in life, and then guide them into the best decision-making they can possibly make. Each step along the way, we are like the loyal advisor entrusted with their care and education of some 'mentee' in our life. Do we pour in the things that will bring value into that life? Those things 'put into' that life are going to bring forth value that will touch the lives of others. These moments we have together each day are not just for us to share a few words - they are moments of 'pouring out' and 'pouring in'. Maybe the mentor doesn't have financial responsibility to 'raise' their mentee, but there is this desire to see the best brought forth from their lives, so they will live well, making wise choices, and prospering in all they undertake.

The quality of a life always should outweigh the quantity of that life. When the right stuff is poured into us, the quality of life will be good. When this stuff is missing, the quantity of life may be larger than the quality of the life we are living. It is a fine balance between these two. We'd like to focus on the quantity at times, but God is always after us focusing on the quality of life first. Seek first the Kingdom of God...then all these other things will be added unto you. Isn't that the instruction from scripture? Put God first in all the places of your life - then the 'things' come second. Quality over Quantity each and every time. God is 'bringing up' his kids in the way they should go. Embrace his teaching - be mentored at his feet. Then you will have the right perspective on life each and every time! Just sayin!

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