As a parent, you expect to teach your children all about life, but you never know how much they will educate you. The last couple of days I have been reflecting on this summer, and the time I have spent with my boys. Three of them have been in my house all summer, and one has popped in and out for a week here and there. My time with them is winding down not only for the summer but for the rest of my life. They are growing up and moving to college and on with their life. I love my days with them, and they are teaching me a few life lessons along the way.
1. Rest. My boys know how to sleep. They sleep as long as possible in the morning. If they lie down during the day, they end up taking a nap. My life seems always to be this hurried flurry of activity, and they remind me that there is still time to rest.
2. Trust. I vaguely remember life as a teenager. Back then I had no idea about the things that occupy my mind now: stuff like insurance, taxes, mortgage and dozen other concerns. I never worried about them because I knew my parents had it all under control. My boys rarely seem concerned about anything. Then I think, why should they, I will take care of it. Oh, to trust God like a teenager trusts his parents.
3. Fun. My boys are highly involved in both basketball and football. They are pretty good athletes and enjoy winning games, but none of them acts as if this were the sum total of their existence. Sports were meant to be fun, and somehow it has been turned into work. My boys are not afraid to laugh and joke before, during and after practice. I am sure it makes all the kids who take it “serious” a little frustrated, but I don’t care. Games are games, not life. There is plenty of time to be serious as an adult.
4. Family. Twice recently I have had conversations with people about children. They complained about how difficult it is with two kids (makes me laugh) and how they will not have anymore. My wife and I had four and in retrospect I kind of wish we had more. My family brings me so much joy. Sure, there are headaches, and they are about to break me financially, but the precious moments together make it all worth it. I deeply love my family in every way. I am glad to have this time with them before they grow up.
5. Time. Ask any parent, and they will tell you how fast time flies. One day they are barely walking, the next day they are in Jr. High and before you know it you are dropping them off at college. Time is fleeting. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today. Savor every minute you get as soon the fun is over, the family is gone, and you will long for them to lie sleeping on your couch knowing you will take care of everything.
God has given me another wonderful summer with my wife and kids. I am thankful for that time once again. This week they all head back to school, and the house will become silent with the absence of life. I breathe a sigh of relief but quietly look forward to Thanksgiving when we will all be together again.