my parents said people matter, but they didn't say it in their words. my dad said it by waking up early nearly every saturday and running the homeless ministry at our church. my mom said it by picking up and dropping off our friends whose parents didn't want to drive them to hang out. (no friend lived too far to be driven home after spending time together.) my dad was always introducing us to his homeless friends when they showed up to church on a sunday morning, and he would hug them like it smelled like they showered and he would offer them a ride to pick up medication/to a shelter/really anywhere.
my parents said it by always making time for us kids. when i lived at home for a semester between gordon and getting married, my overworked dad always had time for hours-long, 11-pm conversations with me about Jesus and life and interesting people he'd met.
more importantly, my parents also said that Jesus matters. this, they may have said flat out. but they also showed us what it looked like. my mom started and hosted a Bible study for other moms when we kids were all in school. she invited women from different circles because following Jesus isn't recruiting sameness. my dad read (and reads) his Bible every single day, and such diligence was obvious and told us that spending time with God mattered. (and, i realized in talking this over with my sister, he always read his Bible out in the open...living room couch, dining room table...where he was more likely to be interrupted by us kids. yet this also meant that we saw his example of reading the Bible every day.)
they said Jesus matters by worshipping in a sometimes embarrassing way (arms up, dancing, and/or clapping louder than anyone else around us). they said celebrating who God is was more important than looking put-together and tame and respectable. (praise the lorrrrrrrd that God is forgiving and didn't strike me barren like michal when david's worship went off the deep end.)
they said Jesus matters by wrangling the four of us kids together for Family Prayer Time each night whenever the youngest person was headed to bed. they showed us how to talk to God like we knew him, and they showed us that it's important to pray for each other.
being a parent kind of scares me. (a kid's life and upbringing are now in my incapable, fallible hands!) devin and i have talked about what kind of parents we want to be: how we want our kids to think critically and follow Jesus, how we want our son to grow up asking hard questions and being compassionate.
and ultimately, we want to lead like our parents did--by example.