This past August, my heart stopped for just a moment. We were on the ferry boat, gliding across the bay from Madeline Island to Bayfield with the motor humming in the background and seagulls swooping past, when my oldest child turned her small face toward mine suddenly and said, “Mom, you’re my best friend.”

Aww, everyone who heard it said, “That’s so sweet.”

And coming just a few days after a meltdown of epic proportions in which she told me she wanted the babysitter instead of me, it was also welcome. A reminder that love covers a multitude of sins.

I think as a parent, it’s easy to forget that. On those days when I’m constantly chasing her down and telling her no, or giving her time-outs, the moments of laughter together and quiet snuggling with her get lost in the shuffle, overshadowed by the hard parts of parenting.

My beautiful daughter is like the wind: constant, moving, and ever-changing, tempestuous one moment and yet gentle the next. She has an iron will and a soft heart. And she is precious to me, even on her bad days, even on my worst.

This summer, a small group from our church gathered on Friday evenings at our house to talk about “Love & Respect,” a small-group DVD series based on Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book by the same name. In one of the lessons, the speaker talked about how the 80:20 rule applies to aspects of our lives, including marriage. How, despite the “fairy tale” we are sold by Hollywood movies and romance novels, we should expect there to be times of conflict: 80 percent of the time things will run pretty smoothly, while 20 percent of the time, they won’t. It’s true for business; it’s true for employee productivity; it’s true for a project’s success.

Being a leader — whether it’s at home, in the workplace, or in any other area of our lives — requires us to always keep the big picture in mind. Whether it’s a mischievous three-year-old child or a recalcitrant coworker, it’s imperative that the 20 percent doesn’t drown out the 80 percent. While my daughter will get mad at me and not always consider me her best friend, she is a gift that I will always cherish, forgive, and love. While we may experience conflict at work, we must remember the other 80 percent as well, and not let the 20 percent consume our focus.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Kristin Demery

Author Kristin Demery

Kristin Demery is married to her best friend, Tim, and a mom to three girls. As a grammar geek and Jane Austen addict, her background in journalism has led to everything from managing a social network site for moms to working as an editorial assistant for an academic journal. Now a freelance writer and editor, she writes about mistakes, motherhood, and the power of grace at theruthexperience.com.

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