On a visit to her son’s home in France many years ago, my wife was startled when her four-year-old granddaughter was jumping around the living room and broke a lamp. When grandma asked what happened, her granddaughter shrugged her shoulders in typical French fashion and explained, closing with the statement, “Mais ce n’est pas important.” But it’s not important. Needless to say, grandma was taken aback by that last remark and, I’m sure, had an adequate response. Over the years I have heard that story many times, so obviously it made a big impression. Today, if you ask my wife or daughter-in-law about the lamp incident, the type of lamp is forgotten but what remains is the expression that has become part of the family lore.
While we assign degrees of importance to things, a child’s simple explanation puts into perspective the reality of what counts: people, family, friends, co-workers, and everyday contacts. They are more important than any object ever will be. As a society, we have a tendency to believe that the more we own, the better we feel about ourselves. You know, “the one who dies with the most toys wins.” We seem to put things on a higher pedestal than human relationships, which is sad because as you grow older, you forget about the things. Relationships live with you forever.
My hope is that as our granddaughter progresses into adulthood, she never forgets the valuable lesson she taught us…the possessions in life are not that important. It’s the people in our lives that count the most.