Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…


“The only thing you ever had to do to make me happy was to come home at the end of the day.”

(President Bartlet to his daughter Ellie, “The West Wing”)


“I just got off of I-10 at Baldwin.  I should be home in an hour or so.” 

It had been a long drive, but our son’s voice seemed energized and enthusiastic.  Nathan had just called as he was driving home from Duke University for the Christmas break, to update us on the progress of his journey.

The excitement anticipating his safe arrival within the hour had both his Mom and me running around finishing up a few last things for his return home.  Our Basset hound, Amos—Nathan’s dog—could sense that something special was going on, beyond the Christmas tree and decorations, and despite his aching older joints, happily followed us around the house overseeing the final few preparations.

Five minutes later the front door bell chimes interrupted our efforts. 

It was too early for Nathan—we separately and silently thought—but the three of us ended up at the front door just the same.  The door swung open to reveal our son standing there—book-bag slung over his shoulder for emphasis I’m sure—in all his exhausted glory, after a ten-hour-drive, sporting a mile-wide-smile. 

His recent—and deceptive I might add—phone call had come from just a few blocks away.  He wanted to surprise us.  It was evident that he was as excited to be home as we were that he was.  No one, though, was more excited than Amos, who locked onto his side for the duration of his stay through the holidays.

“The only thing you ever had to do to make me happy was to come home at the end of the day.”   

It’s a nice sentiment and sounds good if repeated with enough warmth.  But it’s only words if not reflected in behavior.  Without behavior, without love, it remains only a nice—and hollow—sentiment.

We did our very best to make sure Nathan always felt that affirmation coming from us—no matter his age, his achievements, new responsibilities and all the changes in his life.  Still do.  And while Amos was still with us, he always made Nathan feel that way.  We have been privileged in trying to assure our daughter-in-law of that as well, and at times we have to be more diligent and indulgent with her because of the late start we got in her life.  We know it is something our Granddaughters feel now and will always feel from their Mimi and Gran. 

I wonder what the world would be like if more people were made to feel that way as children?  I suspect it would be a better place.  Much.  I wonder what your life and mine would be like if you and I were made to feel that way from day one?  A life where we always were affirmed just because we were there.  Where we always felt welcome just because we came home at the end of the day.  A home where we never felt we had to do anything to earn love or respect or even to keep a parent’s, or someone else’s, presence in our lives.

Well, I don’t know what it was like for you growing up.  I don’t know how you were made to feel as a child…or are made to feel even now.  Some things change.  Some don’t.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The past is the past.  And on and on.  Whatever all those sayings mean is not really important, because the focus for you and for me today is not rooted in looking back, and as much as we would like things to have been different—it won’t happen. 

Our focus instead should be in the moments of today and tomorrow.  How do those who are close around you—your spouse, children, others—feel when they come home to you at the end of the day?  And here’s the life-changer and world-changer to remember:  no matter how you were made to feel in all your yesterdays, you can do it the right way for others today and in all their tomorrows!  And, you can change the world—one life at a time.

“The only thing you ever had to do to make me happy was to come home at the end of the day.” 

Start today to make that affirmation true, with all those who need it to be true all around you. 


                                                                        In His Name—Scott


Copyright 2009.  Scott L. Whitaker.  All rights reserved.