There is something awesome about locking yourself in a car with your family of five for thirty hours. If you all are able to make it out alive, then you are sure to learn a little bit about patience, stress relief, biting your tongue, gripping the steering wheel hard, smiling through gritted teeth and proactive parenting. You will learn about constructive ways to discipline and you will learn the beauty in those little things that you often overlook. You will see the beauty in your children…
In fact, this trip… so far… has been the single most important decision of my life when it comes to my children. I really love my kids, but don’t get the time to share that love with them enough. Sure… I tell them I love them. I hug them. I kiss them. I bless them with stuff. But, this only means a little bit to them. This isn’t how they “experience” love. They experience it in the cheapest and most expensive thing that I have to give…
Time is the way that they experience love. It is in the moments where you pick up your four year old and hold him in your arms or take time to play a game with your eight year old or have a conversation about life with your fourteen year old. It is in these moments that they truly experience the love that you have so deeply for them.
I had one of those moments yesterday. After wrestling with the fear that there could be an alligator lurking in the depths of the pond/lake in our backyard, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go out for a swim. (It helped that there was another family a few homes down splashing around in the water. I figured if they hadn’t been eaten yet, then my odds were pretty good.) As soon as I brought up the idea… the boys were ready to roll. In a few short minutes, we four boys headed down the steps to the water.
It only took about five minutes to coax the kids to enter the water. Zion was convinced there were alligators (the gator tour in Louisiana didn’t help this), but as I dove in and swam deep in the waters, I could see his fear beginning to dissipate. I would hear his voice… “Are you SURE there are no alligators?”
I’d answer, “Do you think I’d be in here if I thought there were gators?”
He finally saw the fun that we were having, threw caution to the wind and waded out into the waters. Before I knew it, we were splashing each other and jumping around. It was great! The kids were having a blast and I tapped into a joy that I hadn’t had in a while. In fact, there was a picture taken as we were lounging around in the water…
A smile that can only come from family. A smile that can only happen when you know you are doing the right thing. A smile when broken paths become whole again. A smile that God brings to His children and a smile that my children brought to me.
There’s a joy that comes from loving your kids and putting them high on your priority chain. There is a peace that comes when you express love through time to your children. There is a happiness that many people long for but don’t often achieve when you look outside of your own ambitions to meet the needs of another… and how much greater is that happiness when those you look to are your own children.
I want to encourage you to take the time for your children today. Call them on the phone if they are out of the house. Tell them they matter. Tell them that you care. Spend some time with your kids this week. Wait… I said that wrong.
I don’t want you to “spend” any time with your kids. This is not how I want you to see it at all. Instead I want you to…
“Invest” some times in your kids.
When you “spend” something, you often don’t get anything in return or that which you do get is not as fulfilling as you had hoped it would be. But, when you “invest” something, you are sure to get much more than you put in to it at the beginning. Choose to “invest” some time with your kids this week. Whether they are in diapers or have a family of their own, invest in their lives this week.