Does anyone else’s phone go off right when you have crawled in bed, gotten situated, and in the most comfortable position ever? Just mine? It literally never fails….I get all settled in, snuggled into my blankets, toasty warm, eyes closed, and then … “ding,” a text comes in. Now, probably a lot of you could just ignore it and not take a look – but not me. LOL I’d like to say it’s because it could be important, someone could need something, but let’s be real – sometimes it is just curiosity that drives me to roll over and pick it up to read the message.
I think kids are like cellphones sometimes. I can be busy working or focused on something ‘important’ and then, “ding,” they need to talk to me or tell me something. It could be that I am engrossed in a movie or reading a book and here they come, wanting to chat. I learned long ago, the best talks never come at the most convenient times.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Matthew 5:42
This verse is from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talked to the people about how we are to live our lives and how we are to treat others. There are so many great references in this sermon, but this verse always stands out to me.
GIVE TO HIM THAT ASKETH THEE….
My children did not ask for many material things when they were growing up. We did not have a lot of money and so having the latest and greatest of anything was rare. There were times I wish we could have given our kids a few things others may have had – trips to Disneyland or an amazing vacation, a larger house so that they did not have to share a room their entire lives, fancy this or expensive that… Those things were just not in our budget and so, rather than go into debt for material items, we focused on spending time together and making memories instead. I learned that TIME was the greatest gift that we had and the one that anyone can afford.
With five kids, it was a rare day that someone didn’t need to talk, get advice, share something, or vent! Of course, just like my cellphone going off at bedtime, it never came at a time that was convenient or easy. When my kids were little, not only did I work at our Christian school, but I ran my own business out of our home doing medical transcription. Transcription is one of those things that MUST be done in a timely manner and had to be completed by 5:00 a.m. each morning. Doctors would get done seeing patients at 5:00 p.m. and then I would work in the evenings after the kids went to bed to complete the typing or editing needed so that the work could get sent back to the medical offices/ hospitals on time.
Around 8:00 p.m. each night the kids would be done with homework, showers, and getting ready for bed. I would sit down at my desk and get prepared to work for a couple of hours knowing I would not be going to bed before 10 or 11, depending on how much work was waiting for me to complete. I cannot count how many times I would be all set to get started and I would hear, “Mom, can I talk to you?” For one fleeting moment I would think to myself, “NOW? Couldn’t you have talked to me three hours ago when I had more time?” But, then I would look at their face and see their eyes waiting for what I was going to say….. My response would be the same each time, “Of course, what’s up?”
Were there things I needed to do? YES. Was the timing terrible? YES. Would I ever want to miss an opportunity to be there for my child? NO!
Sometimes the conversations were easy ones: Can they attend an activity; Is possible to get some new shoes over the weekend; Will I have time for Fro-Yo (favorite mom & son date) on Friday….
Sometimes the conversations were much harder: How do I really know I am saved? Why do you think my parents did not want me? (I have two adopted children); What do you think I should do about _______? How come _____ is not very kind? Is there a way for me to get better at _____? My heart hurts and I don’t know how to fix it, do you?
As my kids have grown, the conversations continue. Some come by way of a phone call from college at 11:30 at night with a broken heart or restless spirit. Some of the talks happen after everyone goes to bed and my son or daughter just wants to share what is happening in their lives. Recently, I had a ten minute chat at 2:30 in the morning about how to lower a fever in my grandchild!
The second half of our verse said, “…and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
My point in all of this is – TIME is a gift to give to your child. It is more important than any other gift you could choose, a gift that is given freely, with nothing expected in return. I realize that we can’t always drop what we are doing to respond immediately to a conversation (we have jobs, we have other people with needs, too, etc). But when you can stop and place your child first – DO IT! If you can make it happen, then do it. If you can’t – then use words that will let them know their value. Words matter. “I want to hear what you have to say because it is so important to me. Can we talk in about ten minutes when I can give you my full attention?” or “I am so glad you want to talk with me! Can we talk right after dinner so that we can have as much time as we need and not be interrupted?”
It is true what they say that time goes by so fast. Your children will grow up before your eyes and you will wonder how it went by so quickly. Stop time when you can, breathe in the moment, let other things wait…. Some day you will long to hear, “Mom, can we talk?”