Gone are the Putting-on-your-shoes Days. Gone are the Hurry-up, we’ll-be-late Days. Gone are the Cheering-you-on-to-victory Days. Gone are the “Can-I-sleep-with-you, Mommy, Daddy?” Days. Gone are the first “Hellos” and the first “Good-byes”. Gone the First Dates, First Dances, First Dalliances.
The Days that add up to the Weeks of a the Child.
Nine hundred thirty-six weeks: GONE!!
Nine hundred thirty-six weeks ~ that sounds like a lot. Dollars: $936 ~ a lot. Daffodils: 936 blooms ~ a lot. People in a room: 936 ~ a lot. Gum balls: 936 ~ a lot.
WEEKS in your child’s life to mold and shape and influence and teach: such a morsel, so fleeting as hours turn into days turn in to weeks turn into years, so quickly GONE!
Finding the time, redeeming the time lost, saving the time. It is like water slipping through our fingers. We cannot grab it back; we cannot negotiate it back; we cannot steal it or cajole it back. Once the days ~ and the weeks ~ have past, they have passed. Never to return.
On a wall in an office ~ a counseling office ~ I once saw a framed picture that read:
There are reasons why I do the things I do BUT excuses keep me there.
Lest you think, “Well this is a downer today. Gloom and Doom. Frustratingly fateful,” let me go on.
Let us look at this way: We GET 936 weeks from 0-18 years of age to mold and influence, to love and teach, to encourage and celebrate! We get to walk alongside our child(ren) intimately acquainted with their likes and dislikes, their faith and their fear, their strengths and their weaknesses. What parent who has raised a child does not remember those critical teachable moments when all else in the schedule is discarded because all that matters is the NOW, the OPPORTUNITY to groom and to grace?
I remember a time such as this: We had just finished a paper drive fundraiser for our church’s Youth Group. The high schoolers and we, the Leaders, had collected and sorted and received papers of all types for most of a day. My own two daughters, still grade school age, were circling ’round the truck and the open grounds, entertaining themselves. Suddenly, I noticed my younger daughter (probably about seven) was eating something. I knew there were no food or treats around. When I queried what she had and where it had come from, she avoided, she was vague, she was “slippery” as children are wont to be when they think they’re in trouble. My concern was that she’d found candy among the donated papers and that it was full of germs. Who knew where it might have come from or been?
But she continued to resist my questions. I remember letting it go for the moment; it was already on its way down her gullet. But when we got home, I pursued. She resisted. I had her sit on the couch with me. And we sat … and we sat … and we sat. I said little; she said less. We had a Battle of Wills going one ~ The Battle of her childhood for us as I look back on it now.
On that day she was tested and testing. How much did I love her? How much was I willing to sacrifice for her? How much was she willing to risk to find out? Little did I know then how swiftly the days ~ weeks ~ years would fly. But, we waited. Each on the other. Finally, after more than an hour, perhaps two, she broke. She told me that she had gone across the way to the grocery and gotten a package of lifesavers. She told me that she was afraid because she went without permission. She bought candy without permission. She knew that eating the candy – the forbidden fruit, if you will – was the path to punishment.
But, it wasn’t – that time! Because she ultimately told the truth, she was spared the consequence of punishment. Her penalty was the anguish in the “Wait”.
Did I do it wrong? Should I have come down hard on her? Should I have denied her my love and compassion? Or, did I do it right? Was the penalty of the interminable Wait, filled with all the thoughts she had, sufficient to build her character and keep her safe?
The teachable moments of Childhood I sensed even then were fleeting. And when I saw the Weeks of Childhood consolidated, concentrated, confined to a partially filled gallon jar of gum balls, I knew. I knew that we have to use every single moment, every single opportunity: every single event, infraction, victory to build into our child(ren). We have to BE THERE ~ in the hard moments as well as the sweet moments. All are being committed to memory in the heart of the Child. Let this be the stuff of Memories: My Mom was there for me! My Dad was there for me! I could count on them! They challenged and championed me to Victory ~ in 936 packed-full-of-Love Weeks!