We’re always in a rush. We have to get them ready for school. We have to get them off to bed. We have to get to the airport. We have to get back inside. We have to finish up dinner.
We are, as parents, it seems, perpetually short of time and always eager to get to the next thing. But it’s worth stopping and thinking this morning, what we are actually rushing to and what we are rushing away from. You’re wrapping up bedtime quickly, why? So you can sit and watch Netflix after they’re asleep? You cannot stand for them to be late to school, why? Fear of other parents judging you? You want to be to the airport how early? And for what reason? Because it recommends doing so on your ticket?
As dads, when we rush, we should know that we are hurrying through life. We are zipping through their childhood—the exact thing that we will stop and miss at some point not long from now. How much of this will seem important then? How much would we give for a few minutes back here, that right now we seem to want to be over as quickly as possible?
We are rushing through the 18 summers we get from them at home. We are rushing through the few hundred breakfasts before they are sullen, hormonal teenagers. We are rushing out early in the 4th quarter to beat traffic in one of the last football games we’ll be able to see together before they have kids of their own. We are rushing towards an uncertain future—one in which we might have cancer, in which a war might break out, or one in which we might be much, much busier with work than we are now.
So slow down. Enjoy it. They call it “the present” for a reason—because it is a gift. Appreciate it. Don’t scarf it down. Savor it.