There are many milestones in your life where you pause and take stock. For some it is a significant birthday or anniversary. Some pause every New Year’s Day to think through goals for the new year. In our family we recently had one of those events: our son’s 13th birthday. It has made me pause to think how fast it’s gone but also realize how much time is left until he graduates high school. Just five fast years…sigh.
It makes me think back to the baby or family dedication at our church. That Sunday morning before we were presented to the church for prayer, they gave each family a jar of marbles. There were 936 marbles in each of these jars. Each marble represented the number of weeks we had, approximately, from the time our child was born until graduation from high school. It was an amazing visual reminder as you took one marble out each week. I remember when each of our sons turned nine, and I sat looking at a half empty jar. If you couldn’t tell, I am a visual learner. I remembered thinking, startled, how can we be at the halfway mark in third grade?! That number 936 is also a very pointed reminder that our time with our children is fast, and we must be intentional.
I remember someone saying to me that the days are long, but the years are fast. This statement couldn’t be truer. In certain stages of parenting, through the lack of sleep, never ending diapers, battling temper tantrums or teenage challenges, it feels like it is never ending. But the years are fast! We have 18 short years training our children. In the length of our lives, it is a very short amount of time. The time we have with our children under roof breaks down to 6,570 days, 936 weeks and 18 summers! This is what hit me as I looked at our 13-year-old son, I only have 5 summers until he is 18. Does that change my priorities? You bet!
One of the things we say often at Sheridan House is it is never too late – never too late to be a better parent, be more intentional, focus more on training your children. Whether you are looking at all 18 summers left or your final summer with your child, it’s not too late to take a look at the things you need to instill in your child before they leave the home. (If you need a good starting point, our podcast called the 30 Imperatives of Parenting, found on the Parenting on Purpose website, is a great springboard)
For me, it’s made me wonder what my son will think as he leaves home. Will he remember the fun times we had as a family? Will he feel prepared? Will he know just how much I love him and how proud I am of the man he is becoming? These last summers, I want to make sure he has the training to be a marriageable and employable adult. I also want to instill those basic life skills to help him breeze through those first few years on his own: simple things like budgeting, separating your laundry and cooking for yourself. I find myself also wanting to prioritize those fun family moments, the game nights and spontaneous ice cream runs. It also makes me really hone down on those things that I still need to focus on training wise. When how much time we have with our kids is brought back into perspective, it really should make us intentional parents.
As we head into this summer, how are you going to use your time wisely? What are you going to prioritize teaching? How are you going to enjoy your family time? I am excited to be intentional with my time with my kids this summer!
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.
For more articles by Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts, visit goodnewsfl.org/author/dr-bob-barnes-and-torrey-roberts/