Nine hundred and thirty six.
That’s the numer of weekends in a child’s life from birth to age 18.
It may seem like a lot of time. And since we’re all procrastinators, it certainly appears there’s loads of time to do fun stuff with our kids, right? But when you think about it, there really isn’t. In what seems like a blink of an eye, Entrepreneur and I used up two sets of 936 on Peanut’s Mama and The Floridian. And, looking back, I wonder if we really spent the majority of them as wisely as we could have. Peanut will already be down to 676 when she turns five in September. Her brother is setting at 416 when he turns ten in December. See how fast it goes?
Time well spent. What does that mean to a child? I’m sure it means something totally different to an adult. As responsible adults, we have so many things we’re expected to do during the week. And weekends seem to be the only time to catch up on those errands, housecleaning, sleeping, partying etc. My guess is a child’s definition is a bit different.
Not that we adults should entertain our children nonstop for 48 hours every weekend. But how many times are they plunked down in front of a television for hours on end? How often are they left to their own devices on the computer? How many of them spend the entire weekend finding “stuff” to do while the adults are busy?
Probably too many.
Don’t get me wrong. I think autonomy in a child is a good thing. To be able to entertain oneself is, many times, the key to a parent’s sanity. But there needs to be a balance. Take time to really engage and talk to them about what’s going on in their lives. Take time to explore and discover with them….even if it’s just in the back yard. Even the simple tasks of brushing teeth and hair have the possibility to become time well spent.
Because one day, they going to be gone. They become tweens and teens with other friends to occupy their time; they grow up, move away and have lives of their own…that don’t include us. And we’re left with wondering what kind of imprint did we have on them for those 936 weekend opportunities? Will they remember us as engaged and involved…or distant and preoccupied? Willing to include them in our mundane activities or shut out because it was faster to do it ourselves? Have you ever tried to clean a house with a preschooler “helping”? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
But it’s important. To them.
Yes, I know we’re all tired. Yes, I know we’re all extremely busy. But turn off that TV, power down that Playstation, and Walmart can wait. If possible, say Yes a little more than you say No. We’ll be glad we did in the long run.
I’m on my soapbox probably mainly because of guilt over my two daughter’s childhoods (moms do guilt exceptionally well); but more because I’ve been blessed to have opportunities again to experience some of those 936 weekend opportunities. And hope to make every moment count.
So, get the tissues before you watch this video. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.