Make Time for Memories that will Never Fade
This week, my college roommate was back in town visiting his family and made time to stop by our house for an evening. After catching up with my wife and I and our very excited daughters for about twenty minutes, my oldest ran from the room to grab a tablet and raced back up to him to ask, “Wanna play chess?” I was treated to half an hour of watching my old friend (who is every bit as bright as I am) nearly lose his first game of chess with my daughter - in his own words, he only got out of it because she showed him a mistake he was making and he was able to turn it around.
I should maybe mention that my old roommate moonlights as a game designer and knows more about the history and development of chess and its variants than I could ever hope to match.
Needless to say, I was incredibly proud of my daughter. And I hadn’t set her up to challenge him, nor would I have expected her to come that close to winning her first game with another skilled adult. (I maybe should have since she finally beat me last week, but obviously I must have just not been paying close enough attention.) But the whole reason I had this great experience is because I took the time last year to teach my daughter to play and spent the time playing with her. She took that, ran with it - she’s getting very good at defeating weak computer opponents on that tablet, and is excited to attend the library chess club this summer as one of the youngest players - and has exceeded by many times the little effort I put in in the beginning - “effort” to have funwith my child.
We get so busy with our day to day lives we can lose track of the time we spend (or don’t) with the people closest to us, the people we see every day - and this passive, unintentional neglect (we’re not tryingto not spend time with our kids, we’re just trying to keep up with all the other demands on our time) has the biggest impact on the smallest people. Children thriveon parental interaction, they come to love what we love and they want so desperately to be like us we have but to give them the slightest encouragement and they burst into bloom right before our eyes.
If I hadn’t spent that time playing with my daughter, could I have answered a few more emails? “Liked” a handful more Facebook posts? Caught another episode of Stranger Things on Netflix? Finished another chapter in my book? Of course I could have. In a year, will I remember any of those things? Very likely not. Will I remember the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes and the genuine joy my roommate took in playing with her - something that could only happen because I first played with her? Absolutely. Maybe even for the rest of my life.
We know that finding time and balancing all the demands on us as parents is hard - it’s another Full Time job on top of any other work you do, and the hours are 24/7. That’s why Family Bridges hosts a series of short podcasts to help young (and not so young) parents navigate the challenges we all share - we know “The Struggle is Real,” but no one has to face it alone. We invite you to check out the podcasts, or join us on the Family Bridges App available in the Apple Store and Google Play to get some quick tips on how you can trim the timesinks that you’ll never remember and make time for the memories that will never fade.
Take the time to play with your kids - chess, baseball, chutes and ladders, dress up, the game doesn’t matter. You may sometimes feel silly, harried, find it hard to focus - but the rewards are incredible, and they come when you least expect them, and they are the moments worth living for.