The minute you have a kid, a chorus of people will come around you and proclaim, “They grow up so fast! They grow up so fast!”
Before you have even left the maternity ward or adoption agency with your child, you will feel the great pressure of time bearing down upon you.
One night, my then 6-year-old gave me a hug. She said, “Close your eyes and then open them. I’ll be married then.”
Even she understood that before you knew it, she’d be grown and gone and . . . ahhhhhh, it’s all happening too quickly!
I’ve tried a hundred times to convince my kids to stay young, proposing they repeat grades, stop learning how to read, or perhaps eat diets consisting of mostly sugar to stunt their bean sprout like growth. (Don’t judge me.)
None of it has worked, but I am happy to say I have found one way to slow down childhood. Ready? Here it is:
Childhood feels quick because of the gaps between when we spend time with each other. That’s why distant relatives who haven’t seen your kids for a year will proclaim, “You look so different! I remember when you were this tall!”
Time away from each other makes life move faster. Time spent together slows the clock down. I’m not talking about signing up for fifty-two activities together either. Is sitting on the sideline of a 3-hour long swim meet looking at my iPhone and talking with other parents really something I’m trying to count as family time?
I’m lying to myself if I think it is. Did I support my kids? Did I cheer? I did, but of that 3-hour commitment, our real face time amounted to the 20 minutes we spent in the car driving to and away from the event.
If you really want to slow down childhood, you have to add more real time to it.
Read them a book at night.
Go on a walk. Throw a ball.
Play a board game.
There are a thousand ways to add some time back into our lives. They don’t have to be complicated, and even a few stolen minutes of focused time can make a big difference.
Childhood is fast, but it doesn’t have to be as fast as we tend to make it.
Want it to last longer? Add back the thing life is made of . . . time.
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of 4 books. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and two daughters. Read more of his work at Acuff.me, StuffChristiansLike.net or follow him on Twitter @JonAcuff.