I hate the clock.
No. Really. My stepdad collects them. But I ignore them. Ask anyone who knows me at all. When it comes to time management, I’m the worst they’ve ever met. If I tell you, “I’ll be there in five,” it usually means I still need to transfer clothes to the dryer, look for my phone, get the kids dressed for school, brush my teeth, look for my keys, put the kids in the car, go back inside the house to find my phone, and then I will be on my way. It still hasn’t sunk in yet—all of THAT might take longer than five minutes.
In my daily fight against the clock, there’s a couple of things I’ve learned:
Time is moving. I can’t stop it. I can’t trick it. I can’t manipulate, cajole, or woo it to change. Time moves at it’s own pace regardless of my schedule or my priorities.
There may be no better example of how time moves than watching a kid grow up. This past year, my son turned four. That may not sound like a big deal to you. But I promise you, he was born yesterday. It’s like in the “five minutes” it took me to get out of the house for the day, he learned to talk, ride a bike, and tell knock-knock jokes. For some reason, this birthday hit me in a new way.
The day before, I just kept thinking “this is the last day I will ever know Sawyer as a three-year-old. Tomorrow, he will be four.” And I wondered, “Did we do everything we should have done for him in this season of his life?”
Do you have those moments, too? That’s when the panic sets in. Right?
Most of the time, I’m not thinking about how fast he is growing. But then, something happens like a birthday or a first day of school. . . And there’s that moment of panic. What if I missed a step?
That’s why I love Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Actually, I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean: “to number your days.” It sounds a little fatalistic. But I do know that as parents, we have a limited number of days to influence our children before they grow up, move out, and become adults.
But that doesn’t have to make us panic. When we number the days, it can actually help us relax—because we know the number of days. We can pay attention. We don’t have to wait and feel surprised when they turn eight, and twelve, and fifteen and twenty-two. We see it coming and trust that the investments we make today are having a lasting impact.
So this week – relax.
You don’t have to make the most of every minute with your kid. You can’t. It’s just not possible. And if you try, it might drive you and everyone around you crazy.
But you can make the most of each week. By showing up in their world and being present, you are creating history with them. You are making memories that will lay a foundation for their future.
By being present this week, you are reminding them they have value, they are a unique individual, they belong and have purpose.
You are making small investments that will add up over time because TIME has a cumulative effect.
So keep doing what you are doing.
The clock is ticking, but the good news is that TIME may be the best platform you have for investing in the life of your son or daughter. What you do this week matters.
Here are 3 more practical ideas on how to make your time count.
Follow the rest of the conversation on Playing For Keeps as Reggie, Kristen, and others talk about the 6 things every kid needs over time. Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue to talk about how kids need Love, Words, Stories, Tribes, and Fun OVER TIME!