Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles. Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble. Even when you scream and fuss, I will keep my cool and deal with it in a calm manner.
Just for this afternoon, I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows or computer time.
Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mommy’s and daddy’s who are kneeling beside their children’s graves rather than beside their beds, and the couples who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can’t handle it anymore.
And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer……it is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask Him for nothing, except one more day…………..
As a weary mother of 4 little Fergusons, this moved me to tears! How many times do I rush through lunch, so we can stay on schedule? Or shove them out the door as fast as their little feet can move, so we get somewhere close to “on time”? How many times have they asked me to stop and read them a book, or color with them, and I say, “Not now, mommy’s busy” and then never get around to it again?
How many times do we show them that their work “isn’t quite good enough” by re-doing the bed they worked so hard to make? Or fixing the dinner table settings just an inch to the left? How many times did they walk away with slumped shoulders and sad hearts because mommy didn’t take the time to listen to what they were REALLY saying?
Oh, how we stumble and fall as mothers. Oh, how we break those little hearts without meaning to, and crush their spirits, rather than the wrong behavior, by our reactions.
As mom’s, we do our best to balance life, and these unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves, to be a certain way, have our house look just so, or enroll our kids in certain activities to give them “opportunities”, that maybe we never had. But, somewhere along the way, somewhere in this hustle and bustle we call life, we’re missing out.
We miss out on playing with our kids because we are never home, or when we are, we’re catching up from a busy weekend. We miss those teachable moments in the car, because we turned on the dvd player, or are talking on our cell phones. What happened to just singing songs and talking to our kids without media-based interruptions? What happened to sitting on the front porch each evening, talking to your spouse after a hard days work, with kids crawling all over vying for your attention? Does anyone DO that anymore?? We should! Heck, it seems like people can barely manage family dinner, let alone a whole evening together!
Our kids are missing out on even BEING kids, because they have too many activities that rob them of the layed-back life they should be enjoying now. Don’t the stresses of being an over-worked, under-slept adult come quick enough? Our kids should be outside playing until we call them for supper, coming in flush cheeked and eyes sparkling, ready to chow some dinner before homework and bedtime. What happened to that? Where along the way, did we as the adults, decide to pass down our overly busy social schedules to our children, and at such an early age too!? Do our 4 year olds really need to be in tap, jazz, piano, softball, knitting, ceramics and a spinning class at the local Y? No!
“Outside” activities, meaning those that take you from your home, need to be viewed as a privilege, not the norm. Family time is sacred time, and anything that takes away from that, needs to be evaluated as to its worth. Will this further the kingdom of God? Is this building our family up? Is this time well spent? Will it bring our family together or send us in different directions?
Is it morally wrong to allow your kids to experience these different activities? Of course not. It’s just that satan likes to use them to steal from your children….he steals their time! Family time is gone. How about running around free and just being a kid? Gone, because we are in the car eating fast food, rushing to the next event, or practice.
Remember the good ol’ days? Playing with siblings and neighbor kids until the neighborhood moms would come out on their porches one by one, and call their kids in for dinner? How comforting it was to join my family for a delicious hot meal to end our day. If felt peaceful, relaxed, low stress.
Did you know in the 1940’s, your average size home was 700 sq ft, and the average family had 7 kids?
Did you know in 2000, the average home being built was 2000 sq ft and the average family had 2 kids?
Our families are getting smaller and our homes are getting bigger…..and we all are going our separate ways. We are losing a precious gift called Family Time. We are missing out on a living room so small that we HAVE to be together because there is no where else to go. No where else to be, except together.
When your kids are grown and gone, you won’t wish you had enrolled them in that cooking class, or ballet class, or soccer league. You’ll wish for one more moment of family dinner time, with those sticky little hands tugging your arm to get your attention and say thanks for dinner. Those teachable moments of learning to clear your own dishes and load them in the dishwasher. You’ll wish for one more family game night, or Bible story time with all the kids lined up at your feet, listening intently. One more moment to watch them wrestle on the floor with daddy before bed. One more moment, lingering on the edge of the bed, with a footy jammed toddler’s sweet little head tucked under your chin….
Dale and I are super committed to keeping Family a priority. In fact, we are in a war to protect it. It’s a sacred gift to be treasured and enjoyed. We value the precious moments spent around the family table too much to share that with anything else!
Go hug your babies extra tight today…..and really take a look at you and your family’s social calendars. Cut some things out, commit to sitting down at least 4 days a week for family dinner and watch (AND FEEL) the changes occurring in your home!
God will honor your “God first, family second, work (and activities) third” mentality.
I’m off to bed, good night!
wow tonya that was so inspiring! i often do think of how many little children are missing or dead and it makes me hug mine a little tighter. being at home with the kids can be challenging but i would much rather the challenge of that then something i don’t reep the benefits of like teaching and bonding with my children. thanks for that reminder!
Tears!!!!! That’s precious…so true. 🙂
Tonya how very true this is!!!
My Neighbor Friend and I often marvel in how lucky we are to have the neighborhood and neighbors we have our neighborhood is more like the 1950’s were or at least our two houses are. The kids play outside and inside together on a regular basis of at least 2 hours up to 7 or 8 hours a day depending on the season and what day it is.
I rarely leave the house during the week, (when it is a non pre-school year that is) Our kids run between the two houses and we know each other well enough to completely trust that our kids are safe no matter which house they are at. The kids play outside a lot some days all day long. I love them all so very much!!!
Our house is Video Game and Computer Game Free unless it is needed for School work, and they watch very little TV because they are two busy pretending and dressing up and playing in the sand box or club house or somewhere outside between the two houses they have two achers to play on ect….
I have people say doesn’t it bother you to have all of those kids in or in and out of your house constantly and my answer is actually NO I love it!!! I love that my kids spend up to 8 hours a day playing numerous make believe games and their creativity is their main source of play!!!
We are very careful about the amount of activities the kids do and to be honest last year during upward basketball it even bothered me some because they were gone Wednesday nights for church, Tuesday nights for Upward Practice and Saturday mornings for games LOL!!!
Our kids are allowed 1 other activity other than Church and right now it is 4H which only meets once a month and that is enough for me I think. Piper deperately wants to join Girl Scouts too, but it is 2 times a month and I just wonder if that is just two much. We are used to lots and lots of family time even if that family time consisits of kids getting one on one Daddy time all day Saturday while Mommy has the younget one or two of the kids.
I don’t carry a Cell Phone on a normal basis I have one but don’t really use it much and I have never texted in my life so I try to focus on the kids as much as possible, and yet I still find myself with quilt that it is not enough!!!
Like when you and I were talking the other day about how we are really taking every moment and a joy and cherish each moment with our last little babies it makes me sad that I did not do this with each and everyone of them.
I sat them down or layed them down so I could get things done and I lost those moments forever even though I did not think so at the time. I love that hold Meadow all the time I love that instead of carrying her in the baby carrier in stores, Dr’s appt. and events I take her out of the carrier and hold her and you know what it is fun for me too because I have her right on my chest all the time and people notice her more then they would in a carrier and I get to be a doting Mommy even more LOL!!!
I will enjoy every single moment with this one and I don’t care what gets done and does not get done because in just a few years all of my kids will be in school and I will have all the time in the world to keep a spotless house and always have all the laundry put away and all the floors and bathrooms perfectly clean ect….
It makes me sad some times thinking back to the days when no one was in school and we had all day every day to spend together and no real schedule we had to follow now they are gone for 7 or 8 hours a day and I miss thos days when they were here with me and we did not go anywhere and just loved being together with not much to go do!!!
Thank You for sharig this I needed to read it and remember I may only have today and if it was my last what would I regret??? What can I do different so that my regret might not be as big????
You are an inspiration Tonya and you make me want to strive to even go further and do an even better job for my little kido’s!!!
Heather, I am realizing more and more, just how much you and I are alike! I am glad you took the time to read this LONG post. I feel sooo passionate about this issue and its nice to hear others perspecetives as well.
I don’t carry Pax around in the car seat either, I just want him in my arms. Well, that, and he is majorly heavy in the car seat, so unless we are doing our big Walmart shopping, I am the same way! Great comment with great thoughts, thanks for taking the time to write. Love, T
Just came back and read your comment to me. I re read some of your post again because when I read it last night it was late and you know my brain was half gone LOL!!!
About the whole bit on organized sports. I have an Aunt who says organized sports for children, are the complete and total work of the devil. Mostly because it take away so much family time, but up in KC where she lives many many of the games are on Sundays and even though all 3 of her Children were raised in Church and Christian School their whole lives only 1 of her 3 sons is raising their family and children in Church and or Christian Schooling. They are all too busy with Sunday activities and sports that they do not have time for God and Family.
Marvin and I veiw children’s sports (other than upward) as this. Neither of us are particularily athletic so none of our kids probably have that chance of being the Head Cheerleader or Starting Quarter Back in High School. The chances of them making it to college on a sports scholarship are nill to nothing so do we really want to loose out on all of those hours with our family as a whole working together unit for the chance that they just might earn a schalarship in 10 years or do we want to scrimp and save to send them to college each month and keep the family time????? We choose the latter for sure.
Marvin comes from one of the Best Football Programs in the state last year they lost their first game in 7 years at the State game they have produced a couple of NFL players and many many coaches all over America ect.. And 2 years ago a New York Times reporter came and moved to Smith Center Kansas to write an award winning best seller book about this Football team from this small Kansas Community where the community binds together to raise and support “Our Boys” as the book was titled. The Coach who has an almost perfect 30 year record refuses to start the towns Football program until 7th grade so that family’s are not torn apart starting at 2nd or 3rd grade running all over creation for practices and games. Yet around here we have a huge winning football team in Hutchinson but they start the boys playing between 1st and 3rd grade. Families run like mad all fall and part of summer taking their families to practices and games all over.
Marvin and I talked about activities like 4H, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts where 20 or 30 years ago you could not start in those activities until you were in 2nd to 4th grade but now they have new additions to those activities where they can start at Kindergarten just because parents threw fits that their younger kids could not be involved and doing these activities until they were in 2nd or 4th grade.
What has happened to giving our kids a childhood what has happened to letting them PLAY and develope their imaginations and minds??? We are forcing on this generation the stresses of running ragged to be at 5 million activities we send them to school at 6:30 or 7am to eat Breakfast there and then we leave them at school until 5:30 or 6pm when both parents get home from work only to rush to a drive through and pick up some food to gulp down while driving to one of the 10 activities we will participate in that week.
Younger children are being dragged along to their siblings activities and they are not allowed to be kids either.
Marvin says now all he could think of while at K-State was how he wanted to get out of school and start his working life and he did not get while some kids added a 5th year to finish their college or why they took a year off to travel ect… Why did they not want to get out and get working???
Now Marvin says being an adult and having a family to support is something he loves, yet he would not mind having that extra year to be a kid before he threw himself into the stresses of a Management Job ect…
Kids have so few years to be kids and then they have all the stress of the world on their backs, why do we as Americans feel we need to deprive them of their childhood all in the name of organized sports and activities that infact rob them of hours of play that they will never get back???
Your post is once again after reading it so very very true and so insightful!!!
Sorry for any misspellings I was typing so fast I am sure there are many, but I don’t have time to copy and paste and spell check in my e-mail program because I have a hungry screaming little girl in the next room!!!
Have an amazing time with your family this week!!!
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