They Paid The Price

by Nicholeen Peck


History is full of inspirational examples of those who paid the price for freedom, for God, for family, and for love. Oftentimes this price/personal sacrifice was made for others who had never been met or who were still young children. How many fathers and mothers have moved their families, fought in wars, or endured tragedy or financial hardships to improve the future lives of their children?

At a recent family reunion, older family members stood up to recount stories from their childhoods about ancestors who had passed away. This is always my favorite part of any reunion because I love finding out more about my relatives that bring them to life for me. I learned that my great-grandparents, Byron and Herma Smith, were incredibly giving despite their financial and physical hardships. Whatever skills or belongings they possessed, they willingly shared with their family and friends while the Great Depression was going on. Additionally, even though times were hard and work was scarce, they still felt that they should bring children into the world, and they loved and served them first and foremost. Even though Byron fought in 2 wars and worked hard his whole life, he was plagued with many health problems, including strokes which left him unable to move himself properly and even perform basic tasks. Yet, he still taught his family about faith and persistence during these hard times by not complaining.  In addition, Herma also devoted her life to caring for everyone in her family, and did so with a happy heart.


Why Pay That Price?

Why did they do it? Surely it was hard and lonely to struggle through such difficult times. Why does any person or civilization endure, and persevere during difficult days?

Simon Sinek has said, “The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own.”  To improve upon this thought it could be said that those who have gone before us with the vision to pave a way for us have willingly made fulfilling the needs of others their purpose and legacy. Parents are the leaders with the most impact on society.

Paying the price means to give something of great worth or to give of yourself in order to get something that you feel is of greater worth than what was given. The most noted instances of paying the price usually happen for freedom, love, truth, protection, and honor.

Historically, parents have felt that for their children to have freedom, love, truth, protection, and honor is worth nearly any price. Parents sell belongings to provide educations and opportunities for their children and they stay up at night, sacrificing sleep, to nurse a child back to health. They give their food to fill their child’s belly and also work long hours to provide shelter and warmth for their families.

I knew a young mother years ago who declined life-saving cancer treatments for her breast cancer to save the life of her unborn child. The mother died two months after the child was born, leaving a father to raise his two girls alone; but the child lived. The ultimate price was not paid in vain.

With so many opportunities to talk with and help parents with the difficult task of child-rearing, I hear some of the hang-ups that parents are dealing with nowadays. It seems that some parents have bought into the false idea that they should be able to be comfortable and have all of their needs met while parenting. When this doesn’t always happen, they sometimes become disenchanted with parenting and even start to look forward to being away from the children that they hoped so long to have. It is for these parents that I am writing this.


Lessons To Take Away

I am fully aware that parents feel guilt, loneliness, and sadness when they start to hate parenting. During these moments it can feel like parenting is hurting the parent. The following lessons for embracing the price of parenting may help parents feel purpose in parenting and paying the price again.

  1. Looking ahead to the adult that the child will become is important to get through the hard moments.
  2. A child will not always look like they approve of your parenting. That doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong. Sometimes they need to learn to deal with disappointment and to self-evaluate, instead of evaluate you. That self-government lesson is vital for maturity.
  3. Stay action focused instead of self/feelings focused. This means that even when there is a hard parenting moment, keep moving forward. Keep focused on the vision for what you are doing, and keep using your next skill. If a parent can instruct and correct themselves, then they can teach those skills of freedom to their children.
  4. The sacrifice is evidence of the purpose. We don’t spend effort or time on things that don’t matter. When a parent pays the price of good parenting and enduring the hard times, they have proof of their priorities and will gain a sense of purpose for life. Family really is the most important.
  5. Doing hard things proves the value of the project. Parenting is the hardest thing that most people will ever do. Don’t let the hard work stop you from enjoying the journey or the people. You are spending your days doing what no one else can do. No one can take your place in that child’s heart.
  6. The child sees that taking on difficult tasks is a path to freedom. Paying the price of parenting shows children that family really is the most important thing. This ultimately creates a more giving, selfless, and family centered society. We need that!
  7. We always find the greatest joy from our deepest pains and longest lessons. People learn and grow the most through difficult circumstances. So, instead of wishing for the hardships to go away, ask what you can learn from the hardships to become the person God knows that you need to become.


As I have watched some of my heroes get old and die I have noticed something. Nothing is more valuable than gathering the family together, and no treasures are greater than a hug, a shared remembrance or loving words of gratitude, or a family photo that proves the love everyone shares.

The price we pay for family is always worth it, even if a family member strays or doesn’t turn out as we hoped they would. The message that we give by paying the price will never be forgotten by us or by the children, and those who aren’t even born yet. Family relationships and bonds are one of the greatest blessings and are worth paying the greatest price.

Improve your family bonds by learning the skills and principles of self-government at the next Parenting Mastery Training.



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