Sometimes, all it takes to enjoy something is a decision.
Some years ago, before I had children of my own, I was teaching a Year 1 class and the school holidays were fast approaching. I was pretty accustomed to hearing parents lament the holidays and how they would have to entertain their kids. I didn’t quite get it, but then I wasn’t a parent so I figured I would get it one day.
But on this one day, one parent, in particular, said something that has remained with me ever since, 14 years after the fact.
The holiday conversation was starting, and she looked at me and said with a huge smile on her face – “I can’t wait for the holidays, I just love spending time with my kids. I love being around them and hanging out and getting uninterrupted time with them.”
That was the first time I had ever heard a parent declare such a thing and still one of the only I can recall. As a keen observer, I also noticed that in many of her interactions with her kids, she was generous with time and firm in intention. In the moment of her comment, I decided that if ever I had kids, I wanted to emulate her attitude.
Now I have two kids of my own, and we are on school holidays right now. While it’s not always an easy decision, each day I wake up and I make that decision. I remember that I like these small people quite a bit, and I really do enjoy being around them. I remember that being able to stay home with them and have uninterrupted time with them, is a gift that I won’t always have, and not everyone can have. So I choose to enjoy it with intent.
It’s amazing how one person’s comment on one day can change the course of how one parents many years down the track.
Today, I say thanks to that mother. In turn, I encourage other parents that when we take the time to make eye contact with our kids and be in the moment – when we enjoy them on purpose and don’t judge our past failures – we get to see a tiny bit of the promise that God has planted within them, and we’re able to receive something precious also.