I am not an expert on children, not by any stretch of the imagination.
But I do have five of my own and the honor of having taught numerous others in preschool, Sunday School, private music lessons, etc. And one thing often strikes me about these little ones –
they need TIME.
Oh yes, they take time as well. Time to train, to grow, to mature. Yet in return, my children and others beyond my home — well, they need us to give time as well. Simple in theory, but often difficult to practice.
This giving of time presents challenges :: our 12 yr old wants to lounge and talk the future, asking questions, sharing heart insights with me — and I multi-task, cleaning out a drawer as her words flow.
“Mom, are you listening? Like, really listening?”
I pause at the question…am I?
Throughout the day, our 8 yr old dashes to my side, excited about her latest story — a prolific writer this child and she wants me to listen to chapter one…then chapter two…and wait!…chapter three as well! I chop vegetables, stir the meat for dinner and her soft brown eyes glance at me from time to time.
“Mom, are you paying attention? Did you hear what I just said?”
To be perfectly honest, I was distracted.
And the 5 yr old spies a recipe and wants ‘to cook’ today — can I help him find a lemon please Mom? Mom!? Can you cook with me TODAY?
‘Yes honey, I’ll try.’ The response is weak as I run to grab his 19-month old brother from pulling down a pile of coloring pencils onto his head.
I feel tired. Overwhelmed by their need.
They need time, these children. Focused, uninterrupted time. And in the last few months I have prayed, asking the Lord for assistance in the demands. How do I honor each child’s felt need for my undivided attention — and still accomplish the tasks of my days?
While I didn’t feel way off the mark, something…something wasn’t right.
The few wisps of moments I have with my children are fleeting — 12 yrs, 8 yrs, 5 yrs — have already gone by so quickly! I had organized my time, telling the moments where to stay :: still, I found them slipping. A change was needed, a different solution for the small whisper in my spirit disturbing me.
My God is a gracious God, and answered me.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Tomorrow, I’ll share that answer with you.
Grace for today...
updated to add :: the answer — our intentional half-hour solution