In Just a Minute
“Come over here young man” the older distinguished looking man said to me. He had been watching my children and i all under the age of seven. He asked me to snap my fingers and as I promptly complied, he said “that quick they will be graduating from High School and leaving your home, so take as much time as you can with them, it will seem like a minute”.
In honor of his age I said, “Thank you sir”, while thinking, that’s such a long time from now, they are just children. What I did not know is just how correct he was. Now each of them is all grown, two married and with children of their own. In reality it was just a minute.
Living has a way of moving much faster than we believe. It is the minutes that make the difference in our lives. While they are passing, rarely do we view them as important.
How in the world do we slow down and savor the minutes with our kids? The quality of life our kids live is determined to a large degree in how we manage our minutes with them.
Here are seven things to consider as life moves at a faster pace than you can even imagine. Let me be the older distinguished man, “snap your fingers”.
Multi-Tasking is a myth! We cannot spend the same minute with our children that we are spending with work. Work when you work and when you are with your kids be totally with them!
Declare a device free time. Every evening set aside time where your face is toward the greatest gift you have, your children; and away from all screens. It is better that you spend a few more minutes in your car in the driveway than on your device while in your house with your family.
Give your family the privilege to call you on it when you break the family code of no screen time. Yes, it may be difficult in the beginning, yet, the reward will be immense.
Invest through your presence. Get down on the floor with them and build a train track, play with LEGOs®, color outside the lines with them. While doing these things you are earning the opportunity of being part of their minutes when they are teenagers and adults.
Navigate distractions. View obstacles as thieves of the best. There are always things that can up to take you away from being present with your kids, view them as thieves. Use the following three tools to set up your security system to warn you of approaching time thrives.
- Determine ahead of time what can take you away from spending time with your kids. Let them know the only things that can take your away from the time you’ve set aside for them.
We do this aggressively with work. We will change employers and careers several times in our lives. Yet, we will have our kids our entire lives. Use the same tenacity for time with them that you do with your work.
- Set all your devices in another room during “Device/Screen” free time.
- Declare meal times “device/screen free” time! Turn the TV off while eating together.
Upgrade your minutes. While with them unleash the power of playing the QL game. Ask sentence response Questions and Listen to their answers with your eyes and ears. Look at them while they are talking.
Tarry in silence. Spending time is silence with them has the ability to transform minutes into memorable moments. If you hold their hand or snuggle with them in silence while they are young, they will give you access to their heart as they get older.
Establish an “say anything” free zone. Once in a while let you kids have the ability to totally express their feelings without judgement or repercussion. This will set up the times when they are older, when you want them to talk with you about the difficult things of their lives, rather than unknowns and un-trustable people.
Serve them for their good. The greatest leader and influencer of all time said, “the greatest among you, shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). The enemy of being a great parent is ego and “what we did not get to do”.
Allow your children to be the children they are. They will get loud at the wrong time or place; they will whine when they are hungry or tired. If you correct them to make you look better, this is all about your ego. Every discipline that comes through our ego with bear unwanted rewards. Also, be cautious about making them do something because you did not get to, cannot bear the fruit you wish.
Your children will enhance their world in their own unique way. It is our mission as parents to spend enriching minutes with them that reveals their DNA “Designed Naturally to Accomplish”. As we discover their DNA, then we can create moments that enrich their Serve to their world. While you construct these enriching adventures, you will at the same time construct the barrier that will keep out the vandals of their best future.
Just as the ocean is individual droplets of water that decided to stick together, so are the minutes we spend with our children. They stick together and become moments that create a life as vast as the ocean.
In just a minute you transform everything.
Matt Upton, Your Fellow Leapologist
Call or Text me anytime at 916.708.8103