The Gifts of Time

Andrew Torris, Ed.D.

There is a certain amount of melancholy that weighs on many parents as they watch their children grow. As my children have grown, I don’t think I’ve noticed that very often, but it hits me like a ton of bricks when I do. 

Child exploring sculpture

The precipitating event is usually a photo seen on a piece of social media, or when I am flipping through my device looking for something and see that picture of my kids when they were much smaller, vulnerable, and dependent upon me. It is then that I begin to think about all those times that I missed out, or didn’t see them as they were then. I’m sad that I didn’t spend a little more time staring at them during those moments when they were doing the things that small children do, or marveling when as a pre-adolescent they mastered a complex task or created a masterpiece. Perhaps, it was that time as a teenager, when they sat across the table and participated in a philosophical debate for the very first time. It is those times I wished I had taken a deep breath and admired them a bit longer. I wish I had lingered a bit over the moment.
A few weeks ago, I was on a call with some parents speaking to them about their challenges and struggles with online schooling and online learning. Online education is challenging for adults, so one can only imagine trying to get a four year old to attend to the classroom on a screen. After a constructive conversation, I pointed out that I was a little bit envious and hoped that they were also treasuring the time they had gained with their child. That gift of time was something I wish I had been able to garner with my children, yet the years have slipped away.
So parents, please grab hold of those tiny moments -- those gifts of time. They are but tiny bites of life that are gone so quickly. 
Also, put that device of yours to better use than social media and take pictures instead!