What Would You Do More Of?

Some of the stuff is obnoxious. Some of it is torture. Some of it just a lot—driving to baseball practice and then sitting out in the heat as you watch them. Getting up early to get them to school. Some of it just seems minor—playing with the same toys over and over again, getting their hair cut, reading a story.

You do it because you’re supposed to. You do it because you love them. And it’s not all tough, there are lots of moments of fun and joy. Still, so much of it becomes an item of the to-do list or becomes just another ordinary thing on an ordinary day. But is it? Or is it much more than that?

“When my daughters were little,” Bill Perkins writes in his fascinating (and relevant for parents) book Die With Zero, “we loved watching Pooh’s Heffalump Movie together. I think it’s the most wonderful kids’ movie there is—a sweet, innocent story about friendship. We watched it many times. But then one day, when my younger daughter was ten, I suggested we watch the Heffalump movie and, to my astonishment, she just wasn’t interested anymore. All of a sudden, she thought she was too old for it!”

We’ve all been there—in fact, we’ve talked about it a lot here in regards to bedtimes, to clipping their nails and getting their hair cut. It sneaks up on us, the passage of time. And then we mourn what we lost, we kick ourselves about what we could have enjoyed more. “If someone had told me that by this date my kid would stop wanting to watch the Heffalump movie,” Perkins points out, “I probably would have watched it with her a lot more.”

Well, you can take for certain that by a certain date your kids are going to stop wanting to do stuff. There is an end to baseball practices, an end to homework, an end to playing toys, an end to putting them to bed, an end to all of it. Before that happens, ask yourself: What am I going to wish I did more of? What am I going to wish I got to do one more time?

And then do that now, while you still can.

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