Investing in relationships

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

By Jan Penton Miller

My favorite eldest son stopped by for coffee and breakfast this morning. He just made it in last night from his job in Saudi, and I’m delighted to know he is again safe and sound on American soil.

With Mother’s Day coming up I once again think of the great blessing it is to have adult children.

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But when I really think about it, the great blessing is not so much to have adult children, but to have a sweet and satisfying relationship with them. I don’t tend to spend much time on social media anymore because I realized it was such a time thief for me, but I hopped on for a minute this morning and saw a post that resonated with me.

My cousin, Goldie, posted a valedictorian speech that I took a minute to listen to. The young man spoke about how excited he was when he found out a few months prior that he was in the running for the honor of being the top in his class.

He decided he wanted the honor and worked diligently to achieve this title. The young man worked and sacrificed to get top grades, and was ecstatic to achieve his goal for about fifteen seconds. He stated that after the euphoria wore off the realization set in that he had been so focused on his goal that he let his relationships slide to the backseat.

In essence he had made his goal more important than the people in his life, and the realization hit him hard. He shared how blessed he felt to have learned this lesson early in life before he placed his work ahead of his family or made some other grave mistake.

He went on to share his belief that the people God places in our lives are so important that they deserve our attention. I was glad that I took a moment to listen to this young man who was obviously wise beyond his years.

I’m sure all of us get caught up in the things of life and get a little off kilter once in a while, but what a great reminder of the simple pleasures and beauty of relationships. The work put into maintaining healthy relationships gives such wonderful rewards.

The web had several different ideas on relationship building, but the thought I found the most important was that people need to be committed and willing to accommodate each other’s needs. In order to do that we actually have to spend time listening. We have to care enough to invest in the other person.

Investing may not get immediate returns, but a wise investor understands that growth potential is maximized by riding the ups and downs of the market and will eventually pay off. I believe this is a good analogy for relationships. Surely there will be ups and downs, but the returns are well worth the wait.

Write to Jan Penton-Miller at