There was once a businessman who had a grueling schedule, often leaving home before his young daughter was up and getting back just moments before she was asleep in bed. One day he decided to take his young daughter to show her his office where he worked. As they walked in, she asked, “Is this where you live, daddy?!”
I’ve taken note of how quickly my daughters are to ask me if “I’m staying home today or tonight”? Here are a few of the telltale signs in our home:
- If I’m wearing a hat, they know I’m probably staying home to mow.
- If I take off my shoes when I’m home for lunch, they have learned I must not be rushed.
- If I make popcorn at night, they realize we don’t have much of anything scheduled that evening.
They see one of these things, and they ask excitedly, “Are you staying home?”
At some point, people began talking themselves into believing it was the quality of the time, not the quantity. Both are needed. Some things just can’t be planned. Small and consistent time spent with kids outweighs big but random most every time. Uninterrupted time needs to come in big blocks. In uninterrupted times, things unfold, light bulbs come on, memories are made, nicknames are given, and dreams are shared. It takes a big quantity of time for those things to blossom. You can’t force a rose to open, you must wait patiently for it to bloom.
Your presence is the most important thing you can give your child. No one can take your place.
It’s been said 95% of things in your life can be done by someone else, 5% of things cannot. Being a parent to your child falls in the 5%. It may mean that you have to arrange your life differently. During the child’s younger years, it may mean turning down those things requiring more hours or relocating away from family. You may have to put aside a few goals that require too much. You may have to put some time-consuming hobbies on hold. It’s not easy, but I’ve been told it’s worth it.
Time together makes all the difference in your connection and relationship. If you want your teenager and adult children to open up and talk with you, be sure to listen to them as small children. Consistent, large quantities of uninterrupted time together will be a foundation.
If you are already in a season of life with adult children, it’s not too late. Begin anew today. What can you invite them to? What can you get tickets to see? How can you spend time together?
Time is the gift your kids want more than anything. How can you arrange some time today?
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