People or things?
Vance used to ask the kids that all the time. The answer was always “People.” People are always more important than things.
Practically, that plays out in a lot of ways. By putting down or turning off electronic devices when people need your attention. If you’re watching a movie and someone knocks on the door, you pause the movie and talk to the person. When your notifications buzz and you’re in the middle of a face-to-face conversation, you don’t look down at your phone. You stay focused on the people in front of you.
When your brother breaks your new toy, you forgive him. The brother is more important than the toy.
When your kid wants to become better at baseball, you put a pitching mound in your front yard and it kills all the grass. And the spots where he sets up his tee and net are rubbed bare but you’re raising kids, not a lawn. Because the baseball player is more important than curb appeal.
Vance tried to teach me this, too. I was a poor student. Often, I thought the house being cleaned was more important than the house being peaceful. That the chores took precedence over relaxation. I’m working harder to find that balance. To nag less and love more. To put people over things, as they should be.