I hope you had a happy and safe Father’s Day.
Men seem to be able to make time bend to their will. Somehow, we can take its limited supply and multiply it when necessary.For example, if your wife asks you to do something while you’remowing the lawn, you say, “No problem! I got this. I sure can have all three children bathed, dressed and ready to go in fiveminutes. You just leave it to me.”
Or we can condense time to where one hour is just a few minutes on the clock. I became a master of this when my girls, Abbie and Annie, started in middle and high school. I noticed that teenage guys started hanging around my house. I knew they were not there to help me wash the car or paint the house. And it wasn’t just one young man, but many of them. They ran in a herd. I guess there’s protection in numbers.
So, I had to learn the parenting skill of shrinking time to fit my needs as a dad. I would start by announcing to Abbie and Annie that it would be dark soon. This was a hard sell at 5 p.m. in July. Yet I would yell to the group that we would be eating soon, and the girls needed to come inside and clean up before dinner. I also had to tell the herd that they were not part of the feeding, and they would have to go back to their houses to have dinner. Have you ever tried to feed a group of teenage guys? There aren’t enough pizzas that could be baked to fill them up.
One of my greatest uses of time involved the grandfather clock we had near the front door. I set it 10 minutes ahead. When thegirls left with a date or the herd, I pointed at the clock and told them to be home by midnight. This worked to my advantage whenever a young man or the herd would come inside the houseafter bringing one of my daughters home. As it neared the time for the young man or herd to leave, I would start making noise upstairs like I was going to come down and get something out of the kitchen. That sent a clear message.
Although it felt like I could expand or shorten time as the girls were growing up, what I finally learned as a father was that time goes by so fast — and it’s a valuable, precious commodity that cannot be replenished. You can repaint a car or buy a new one, get married again, make or spend more money, and the list goes on and on. But when you run out of time, that’s it. It’s the end of your life, and of making new memories or retelling old stories to your adult children, who have so much more time ahead of them.
So, I ask myself, along with all of us fathers: Where will you spend your most valuable asset? Will you spend time on things that can be replaced, or on your children, making and relivinggreat memories and the times you had together in this one short life?