I got a message from a friend named David Wills a few months ago. It was about losing his marbles. He sent it to remind me about something that happened several years ago at our church. We handed out jars of marbles to every family. There was one for each child in the home. There were enough marbles in each jar to represent the number of weekends children had left at home before they headed to college. For example there were jars with approximately–

468 marbles for 4th graders
364 marbles for 6th graders
208 marbles for 9th graders
104 marbles for 11th graders

Some parents used calendars to calculate the exact number of weekends for each individual child. They kept the jar in a visible place in their home and removed a marble each passing week to illustrate how much time they had left with their kids. It was a sobering visual reminder of how fast time goes.

David sent his post about marbles because he had literally used his last one. He dropped his son off at college that weekend and drove home. Looking back, he was shocked that he had lost his marbles so quickly. As a young parent looking forward, it’s easy to take for granted how little time you will actually have to spend with your kids. That’s why the marble visual is so powerful. It’s a practical way to illustrate Psalms 90:12 which says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

What if you decided to apply this principle to parenting? Go ahead and estimate how many days or weekends you potentially have with your kids. Establish a tangible reminder that you and your family can look at everyday. It could help you become a wiser parent. Why? Because knowing the number of days your kids have left at home can make you more intentional as a parent.

You will tend to be more intentional about–

Leaving work early
Watching your kid’s games
How you spend Saturdays
Driving them to school
Helping them with their homework
Going to church as a family
Tucking them into bed
Eating meals together

When you remember the days with your kids are numbered, you will tend to make a better plan for your day.

Why don’t you number the days you have with each of your children? See how it affects the way you parent.