All parents feel like their kids are growing up too fast, but how fast is too fast? It’s 936 weeks to be exact. That’s how long you have between birth and high school graduation. The question each parent must answer is, how are you using your weeks?
I know you sometimes feel pressure to fill your summers with more than seems to actually fit: multiple camps, baseball games, vacations, strawberry picking (my family favorite), and all sorts of other adventures. Yet at other times, you are so tired, you know you are giving your kids the leftovers of your energy, mere scraps after a long day of work, managing bills, driving errands, and dealing with yet another home maintenance issue. So we feel guilty and again muster up the strength to load up our schedules with our kids and we run ourselves ragged yet again.
What if, instead of thinking that we need to pour lots of activities into our kids lives, we instead built a regular rhythm of conversations and quality play time into each week? What if you planned for every, say Tuesday, to be a family night where you ate together, talked together, did an activity or game together, and didn’t need to be scheduled into a program to do it?
For several months now, I have been taking my boys with me to the YMCA one night each week, and I have really enjoyed the opportunities it has given me to talk with them about important life lessons and to hear about the things they deal with each day at school. By playing together, they open up to me and share all sorts of things, and I am lucky enough to have a glimpse into their worlds. Plus, in the various situations we encounter, I have amazing teaching opportunities. When a kid loses his temper for losing a game, I am able to teach my kids about winning and losing and about how to help somebody who is angry. When somebody is excluded from a game because he isn’t very good, I get to invite that kid onto my team and teach my kids how to value everybody. And when a young woman wears revealing clothes to work out in, I am able to talk with my boys about modesty and how they should view woman as God’s daughters.
It’s in this ordinary activity, planned regularly, that I am trying to make the best use of my 936 weeks with my boys. What things could you do to take advantage of each week you have with your kids?