You Can’t Let Them Do This

They say it all the time. 

When will this be over? Are we there yet? Why is this taking so long? Do we have to? 

It’s whiney. It’s annoying. You ask them to stop. But in getting upset, you miss the real opportunity. To teach them. To explain to them what they’re really saying.

In his book Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life, the writer Daniel Klein recalls a formative moment: “I remember one long-ago evening, on an overcrowded train to Philadelphia, hearing a young woman moan to her mother, ‘God I wish we were there already!’ Her white-haired mother replied eloquently, ‘Darling, never wish away a minute of your life.’” 

They’re kids, so they don’t understand how short a time we actually have on this planet. Even you as an adult sometimes forget it. That you only get 18 summers at home with your kid. That you only drop them off at school a couple thousand mornings. You’ll only get so many breakfasts together, so many trips to the store, so many waits in the lobby at the doctor’s office. 

To wish that away? To waste them? To want it to be over soon? What a tragedy. What arrogance. 

Sure, sometimes things are boring. Sometimes they’re even a little painful. But all we have for certain is right now. We can’t take it for granted. We have to teach them now, before they regret it, not waste a minute of this life that we have. We have to live it now. Together.

As a family.

P.S. This was originally sent on December 21, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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