Do You Have Proof that You’re an Awesome Parent?
After helping Kurt and Brenda Warner write their book, “First Things First,” friends and family members would ask me questions about the Warners like, “What are they really like?” “What was the most exciting thing you did while you were there?” “And is Brenda as hot in person as she was on TV at the Super Bowl?”
I spent nearly six days with the couple and their children and feel like I have a really good sense of who they are, unfortunately it’s not always what people want to hear.
Because I say, “They’re even better in person than the best things you’ve heard about them.” There was a moment when Kurt talked about how much he loves his wife and his family that made me want to get up and leave so I could go home and love my family that way. To hear Brenda talk about serving others made me want to do find causes I could commit to. “And yes,” I would tell them, “Brenda is very attractive in person.” “Yes, she’s changed her looks a lot since St. Louis,” and “No, she hasn’t had any more work done than I have,” (and mine comes out of a bottle).
But the one thing that seems to surprise questioners the most is my answer to “What was the most memorable thing you did while you were there?”
I think people are expecting me to say that I went to the Cardinals home field and threw the ball around with Kurt where I learned some cool insider information to help their fantasy football team. (I didn’t.) Or maybe that Brenda was hard to work with (she wasn’t she was incredible to work with–she’s extremely intelligent), or perhaps that when I got lost roaming in their mansion I accidentally came across the room where they have stacks of money, gold, and jewels. (While they have a very nice house–with seven kids to fill it–it hardly seemed like a mansion).
My answer to the question of what impressed me most while I was at their house is something completely unexpected. Even to me…
It was their kids.
The Warners have seven amazing kids. I could tell you lots of stories about them but I find there are two stories that I keep telling over and over again. The second story I’ll share in a blog post tomorrow, but the first story is about their oldest daughter Jesse Jo.
Jesse Jo is smart and beautiful (one reporter described her as “smoking hot” and I wouldn’t disagree). She is also a very talented and accomplished musician and vocalist. At one point in the interview I asked this poised seventeen-year-old about what she was going to study the following year when she went away to college at NYU. I knew she was going to study music so I assumed her major would be vocal performance. Here’s what she said:
Jesse: I could go and pursue that in college, but I knew that they [her parents Kurt and Brenda] taught us was that we were created to give back and to do something more, so that’s why I want to study music therapy.
Me: I just assumed that if you sing, you would want to be on American Idol or to be a celebrity or whatever, and yet you don’t? You want to serve other people through music therapy? You could use music to draw attention to yourself; instead, you want to use it to serve others?
Jesse: And I thought about that. I was like, cool, I want to go on American Idol and be famous, but then I go on a Disney trip [with terminal children], or I go on a hospital visit with my parents or I do something like that, and I realize that I couldn’t just do something to try and further my career. I feel like we’ve all been given these gifts, and again, it sounds really cliché, but we have a purpose and it’s so much bigger than what we think it is and so, I have such a heart for kids with special needs, that I really want to work with kids with special needs when I grow up. So I prayed about it a lot and didn’t really know what to do. Like, what can you do with special needs kids and, like, the piano? But then I just read a lot about music therapy and really feel like that’s something I want to pursue, just to be able to combine everything and use my gifts.
Wow! Did I mention she was seventeen?
She’s such an incredible and poised young woman who could lead a life of ease and privilege if she wanted and her parents agreed to fund it, instead she’s trying to change the world for the least of these. As a recent class assignment she was asked to define what Music Therapy was and she made this video.
Watch this video as proof of what an amazing young woman Jesse is, but also what incredible parents Kurt and Brenda are.
So when people want to know what impressed me the most, was it their house, or cars, or celebrity status, I say, “No, it was their kids.” I only spent six days with their family but I miss their kids like they’d grown up next door to me for fifteen years. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to see their family for who they really are, not for whatever the blogs and tabloids might say about them.
It’s my hope and prayer that my son will be like Jesse Jo and find ways to use his gifts and talents to serve a larger purpose in life. And I hope as a parent I’ll one day have this kind of proof of a job well done.
So how are you doing? Do you have proof that you’re an awesome parent? Tell me about it in the comments below.
PS – This automatically imports to Facebook so if the pictures or video are missing check out the original link here.
4 Responses to “Do You Have Proof that You’re an Awesome Parent?”
I know I’m a terrible parent.
Stuff like this just goes to highlight that for me.
I’m glad that the Warner kids have such great parents.
Thank you for sharing so honestly your experience with the Warners.
Not true! Even if what you say is true, you’re still miles ahead of terrible parents who don’t know they’re terrible. It’s easy to be discouraged when you see such a inspirational family but I try to use it to motivate me to do just one thing better today. ~Jennifer
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Hey Jennifer. You know me from a long time ago! We worked together on Art Within, remember? I absolutely loved your blog on the Warners. I grew up in St. Louis and have followed the Warners story since Kurt came to play for the Rams. Such a humble guy, which I find extremely attractive in every way. Our daughter, Kelsey, went off to college this year and has managed to still find time to explore her faith. She has found a CCF (Christian Campus Fellowship) group at Univ. of West Georgia. She is balancing her social life with her desire to grow closer in her walk with God. Pretty cool. I don’t know if that makes me a great parent or not, but we sure are proud of her as she blossoms into an adult. She made a 3.6 and the Dean’s List her first semester and she turns 19 next week! Can’t wait to catch up with you, girl. Shelley was telling me you are on tv. and everything!