In the daily hustle and bustle of life, we often find ourselves stressed out for time. Sound familiar? It is an all to common event, especially in a time where it seems that every moment is accounted for in a manner that seems to give us no control over our daily lives. I know from personal experience, that until I became conscious of time, it just seemed to slip away from my grasp. It was as if someone or something else was in control of my time, let alone my life; what was even worse, I would casually speak with my wife about how time seems to slip away, as we both lovingly gazed upon our children, talking about how fast it seems that they are growing up.
Time is a tricky phenomenon, one that is highly difficult to grasp, let alone assume control over. As Einstein’s theory states, time is relative. What’s worse, it is the only commodity that we can never take back. However, those that suffer most from the lack of ability or willingness we have to take control of time are the very one’s that need it the most, the children we so deeply love.
It only takes a moment to make a moment?
This morning, during my first hour awake, I noticed I had told my son’s on at least 4 occasions to hold on, to wait a minute, what (as I found myself distracted with a new app. buying for my attention), and worse yet, “I don’t have the time” when I was asked to take them to a Pokemon gym to make a seven day streak of Pocket Monster hunting. As a professional, a doctor, a writer, a business person, and more importantly, a father, husband, and a family man, I wear many hats during the day. But which one assumes the most importance, and at what time? This is the most difficult question that affects me on any given day, especially as it relates to time management. However, it is one I am very familiar with, seeing both children and adults in my practice. This crunch for time seems to be very much a collective phenomena, especially as it relates to the general levels of psychological a and physiological distress time management problems cause.
Where does the time go? And more important, how can I assure that I attend to not only my children’s needs, but also their wishes, desires, and dreams? How can I balance their desires with my own personal ambitions, let alone find balance between my familial, personal, and professional obligations and the dreams I wish to pursue to make my life whole and worthwhile. Can anyone say stressful? But this seems to be the plight of all career parents.
It only takes a moment to make a moment in your child’s life! As I realized that I told my sons no, that I didn’t have time to take them to get that seven day Pokemon streak, I became conscious of what I was doing. I was simply allowing other priorities to control the precious time I do have to spend with them. I unconsciously gave up control of the one thing I do have control over, my schedule. For a professional, it is hard to come to grasp with this concept. I have people I need to see, things I need to do, employees to worry about, let alone spending a moment to engage in “play?” To this my mind focused, on what is more important, taking that moment to play, or loosing the battle of my childrens’ healthy psychological development over something as rudimentary as 10 minutes to just take a break and teach them to Poke-Hunt. My answer was clear.
I took the time to go spin that Pokemon Stop and catch those Pokemon with my sons. However, I also took the time to inquire of them a simple question that became the basis for this article. What is the most important thing for you to do with your parents? They answered eagerly, “go on vacation with you guys.”
In a way, I think the vacation we just took was fresh in their memory. It had to be, as everyone is still overcoming the tiredness of jet-lag present. So as a social scientist, I had to think for a minute. Is this the correct answer? Something was not sitting fully right with me. Because I know that my children have much more fond memories than the vacations we go on. I began to think, what is the most important thing you can do with your children? The answer became clear.
When you go on vacation with your child, the one thing you give them is uninterrupted time. By exposing your children to uninterrupted time, you expose them to your values, give them an opportunity to interact with the lessons and passions you find important, and more importantly, you allow them access to your moral compass. While not every day can be a vacation, as a parent, you can commit to at least moments to make a profound impact on your child’s life. It Only Takes a Moment to Make a Moment in the life of a child. Those moments will add up to great results in the relationship you and your children establish for the future. Those moments also secure the foundation for their success as adults, who will one day face the same challenges you have as a parent.
Have you taken a moment with your child today? Please share what you have done and your thoughts. Much appreciated.
Dr. Thomas Maples