When I was the father of young children. . . several years ago but not really that long ago. . . I heard my friend Ken Davis say something that hit me like a brick and has stuck with me ever since. Ken said, “One day I was holding my little baby in my arms. . . and then I blinked. . . and she was heading off to college.” Message received.
Ken was warning us that time does indeed fly by. Now that I’m looking in the rear view mirror of my own life and my kids are all adults, I realize just how right he was. Ken’s intent was to prompt intentional parenting. The days go by so fast that we don’t want to miss any thing, any moment, or any opportunity. Again, so important and so, so right.
I was thinking about Ken’s words early this morning as I looked out our back window at a swing set that’s sat dormant for years. It used to be filled with playing and laughing kids. . . my kids. . . who are now all adults. The wood on that swing set is faded, worn, and splintered. Quite honestly, it’s not fit for children to climb on anymore. But I can’t bring myself to take it down. Too many good memories. I’m thinking I’ll fix it up sometime soon so that my grandchildren can enjoy it.
Time flies. And I’m glad that I heard and heed Ken Davis’s advice.
How could Ken’s statement be re-stated in today’s world? I’ve been thinking about that as well. We live in a day and age where we regularly see families, as Sherry Turkle says, “alone together.” Mom and dad are buried in their screens while the kids play, live, and grow through life at breakneck speed. We hear terms like “texting while parenting,” “primary maternal preoccupation,” ” tech neglect,” and “distracted parenting.”
Maybe we’ll hear Ken’s statement contextualized in ten, fifteen, and twenty years as regretful parents utter the lament, “One day I was holding my little baby in my arms. . . and then I looked down at my smartphone. . . and when I looked up he was heading off to college.”
Hopefully, we won’t be hearing those words uttered from our own lips.