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The most important image of all

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
— Theodore Hesburgh

It's been the perfect day.  It's late spring and we have been outside all day working on building a deck on the back of our house.  The weather has cooperated nicely and we are making progress.  My little man has been outside helping out as I patiently and purposely follow the steps on completing our project.  Then it happens.  I make a single mistake and the words slip right out of my mouth.  You know the words.  The forbidden ones that every parent lets slip out at one time or another.  And then my 3 foot something human parrot chimes in and just like that a teaching moment occurs.  I am now in the process of explaining to my child that those words aren't "ok" to say and that I was wrong.  He looks at me with those big kind eyes and in one single look teaches me a valuable lesson in life.  Children learn more from what they see then from what they are told.  Setting an example is the most important piece of building healthy, happy children and hopefully good hearted citizens one day.  

From the moment your children are born you have become a roadmap for who they will most likely become one day. The values that you display will become part of their DNA just as much as any physical feature that you have passed on to them.  The stakes are raised and its time to become a better husband, father, employee and citizen.  

From the moment our oldest child was born, we were all in.  We felt so clueless about what it meant to be a good parent, but the more we moved forward, the more we realized we actually had a pretty idea of how to get there.  All the lessons we were about to teach have been learned from the other end of the equation.  Do you ever catch yourself mid-sentence and think to yourself, "OMG, I sound just like my dad/mom!"  That's great!  That just means you were paying attention.  Now its time to think about the message you want to live for your children.

That brings me to the point of this whole article.  Through all the craziness that is your life, becoming a parent and figuring things out as you go, its so incredibly important that you don't stop dating your wife/husband.  It's so easy to fall into the trap that is being that 24/7 parent that does everything for your kids.  While your children are your priority, so is your wife/husband.  An extremely valuable piece of their development is learning what it looks like to be a great husband or wife.  And that means putting your partner first.  Show them what a healthy loving relationship looks like.  Because if you don't, it will be really hard for them to have one. 

You are probably asking yourself, how does this fit into photography?  Well, photography is the only form of art that represents life exactly as it is.  This past week, I made it a point to persuade my wife into letting me take photos of her as I see her.  I asked her to get "done up" and give me a small window of time to take a few photos.  We were able to slow life down, if only temporarily, to just enjoy each other.  It was awesome creating this opportunity for her to be the center of our world.  This tiny moment meant so much more than you could ever imagine.  

And at the end, I was able to share these photos with our children and explain to them that this is how I see their mother, my wife.  She is the most beautiful women in the world to me and I appreciate her for all her beauty.  For all the crazy moments in life, I couldn't imagine sharing them with anyone else.  

So the next time you pick up your camera, take a few portraits of your signifiant other and let them see how you see them.  Photography can be a powerful tool.  Love them through your lens.