The Important Place

Jacquiline - Mesa, Arizona
Entered on April 15, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

It was a Sunday that no Mother ever wants to deal with. All of my kids were rowdy and very unwilling to get ready for church. Even through the church services I found myself splitting up fights and trying to evoke any possible form of reverence. In church we heard about how wonderful families were. I had always known that families were important, but given today’s circumstances I was less sure about them being wonderful.

Where was the family we heard about in church- the one who loved each other and helped when things were bad? I wanted my kids to see that fighting only made being a family difficult.

I piled everyone into our minivan and sat in the driver’s seat saying only once, “No talking!” The look in my eyes hushed the family. They knew I was upset and had had enough. I didn’t know where I was driving to, how long we were going to drive or even when I was going to stop driving. I kept praying in my heart to know how to rid myself and my family of the tension we had felt throughout the day.

I saw a dirt road that led off the freeway and felt that this was the place I needed to get off. It began to rain again so I found a flat clearing and came to a stop. It occurred to me that I needed to show my kids where true happiness is. I got everyone out of the van and opened a large umbrella. I stood there in the sprinkling rain and asked each child, in turn, where the important place was. My youngest daughter was only two years old and she began to wander towards a hill. She barely got to the foot of the hill when she stopped, turned around, and declared she had found the important place. I asked her to come back and then sent my youngest son out with the same request. He was about four years old and was determined to go further than his younger sister had gone. When he reached about two hundred feet away from the family, he, too, turned around and declared he had found the important place. I sat there with tears in my eyes as each child went progressively further away from the family and declared they had found the important place. After each child had the opportunity to fulfill the request, my sweet husband spoke up saying he was going to find the important place. The children watched their Dad as he made his way towards me and the umbrella. Upon reaching me, he declared that the important place is wherever the family was and that we didn’t need to go away from the family to find happiness.

The ride home was in tears of love and remorse for the way we had all treated each other. The family is the most important place to be no matter where you are. This I believe.