So over the last seven years, almost all of my posts have been directed specifically toward educators about topics related to education. This week however, I’m going to widen the scope a little bit and direct this message toward anyone with a beating pulse. You see, over the past few weeks, three separate things have happened that have brought me back once again to a very important question that we should all be constantly asking ourselves…how are we spending our very limited time on this earth? The three things were…four people very close to me lost members of their family (one lost a father, one a mother, one a husband, and another an uncle)…my beautiful boy Max turned 12…and a decent percentage of families failed to show up for their child’s goal conference because they were too busy to attend. I want to unpack each of these in order to make a point that is worth thinking about I believe, and in an attempt to get us all to look closely at how we are choosing to spend our days.
First of all, to the four people who lost their loved ones…I’m deeply sorry for your loss. The news of these passings got me thinking hard about how fragile, and short, and random life can be, and how it can change in the blink of an eye without warning. It put my perceived troubles and my trivial worries into perspective, and woke me up again to what’s really important in life…living each gift of a day to the fullest, and spending time with the ones that you love. It’s very easy to take the time that we have on this earth and with each other for granted, and we often get so caught up with issues that in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter at all.
We get so busy with work and deadlines and that race to nowhere that we miss out on the opportunities to really connect with what really matters…we go weeks without talking to the people that we love who are far away, we don’t stop and say thank you to the people in our lives who have inspired us to be better, we fail to stop and look at the beauty of our world that is all around us all the time, and we don’t take enough time for ourselves to reflect, to count our blessings, to smile, and to be happy. The universal truth is that nobody knows how much time they have left, and it goes by in what seems like a heartbeat…so my question to you is…how are you spending your days?
I bet if we really look closely at it, there are some changes that we all can make to bring what’s really important in our lives more into focus…Think about that this week and do three things…connect or reconnect with someone who would love to hear from you…think of a person in your life who deserves a “thank you” for making your life better and tell them…and take some time each day this week for yourself. Notice the beauty around you, count your blessings, be grateful, and slow down. Life speeds all of us by it’s true, and there’s no going back, which brings me to my 12 year old boy Max…where did that time go?
I cannot believe that my little boy is almost a teenager. For those of you with kids you know how quickly it goes. Man, I still think of him as that little baby who would sit on my knee and cuddle me for hours. In many ways he will always be that little boy, and it’s sad for me to watch him grow up so fast. He wants more and more to spend time with his friends, and with his iPad, and I find myself having to fight for his attention. I find that the older he gets the easier it is for days to go by without really connecting with him, and I fear that it’s going to start getting even harder. Many of my friends who have kids who are now grown up and moved out implore me to make the time to connect each and every day with my kids. Set up time to go for walks, or play sports, or read together, or go for drives around the neighborhood, or whatever. Ensure that not a day goes by without having that special time with your child or children because it’s gone before you know it.
As adults life gets busy, and we tend to make our days busier than they need to be, and it is very, very easy to go days and weeks without really connecting with your kids, or your spouse for that matter…don’t let that happen. A good friend of mine, Scott Miller, told me that the most important thing that you can do as your kids hit the teenage years is to make your house, THE house…the house where all the kids hang out. He said the best investment you can make is in a hot tub, so that all the friends of your son or daughter will want to come over. It doesn’t have to be a hot tub, but I get his point. If you have kids and you’re reading this, connect with your children each and every day because soon they’ll be grown up and moved out and you’ll be desperate for that weekly Skype call to keep up with their lives. I’m scared to death of that and I’m going to hang on for dear life. I can’t slow it down I know but I can savor each and every day I have with them…and that’s what I’m going to do. Happy birthday Max…you’re still my little boy and you always will be.
Finally, we had our student goal conferences last week where each student presented to their parents around the goals that they set at the beginning of the year. It was truly a day of celebration, as the students talked about their growth and their success and their learning that has happened over the past 5 months or so. I loved seeing the kids present as I walked in and out of classrooms, and I loved seeing the pride on the parents faces and the sense of accomplishment that was pouring out of the kids. It was a great day all around. That said, there were quite a few parents who didn’t make the time to attend the conference for whatever reason. My response to that is…really?
As parents, there is NOTHING more important then making time for our kids. Whether it’s attending a goals conference and engaging in their education, or making time to watch their basketball or soccer game, or doing whatever it takes to see their play or recital or concert…that’s what parenting is. Making the time for your children should be held up above anything else in life in my opinion, and if our lives are too busy as adults to make that happen then we need to look closely at why that is.
I know that I can make changes in my life to get better at this and I’m committing to it today. Getting back to my two earlier points, life goes by too fast and it can be over before you know it…we need to be there for our kids and be a part of their lives. It’s easy to make excuses and we all do it but that doesn’t make it okay. Eating dinners together, going on trips together, reading together, playing together, and being present for the things that are important to THEM…that’s our responsibility and that’s what matters. I guess with all that said, my challenge to all of us is to look critically this week at how we are spending our days and how we are prioritizing our lives. I know there are things that I need to do differently and I’m excited to make those changes. Ultimately, if we’re fortunate enough to live long lives, we don’t want to look back and have regrets. No one wants to be looking back wishing that they had spent more time with their kids or with the people that they loved…no body wants to look back and regret how much time they spent on things that really didn’t matter at all. Life is an amazing gift that we all need to embrace each and every day…let’s do that.
Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other. I’ll be sharing this message with my entire parent community and if you agree with the sentiment then feel free to pass it along. It’s a message that I think we can all take to heart.
Quote of the Week…
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision –
Great TED Talk – Isaac Lidsky
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Inspiring Videos –