Woosh! Time seems to fly when you look back.
Remember? It hardly seems any time since your little bundle of crumpled flesh arrived. Even with different coloured fluids escaping from just about every opening, you and your baby received admiring oohs and ahs from just about everyone!
Those times were very special. Good times.
However, looking forward is very different, and is the stuff of dreams and imaginings, as I wrote recently. Dreaming forward is, of course, looking into the future. From here it looks distant, and a long way off.
For example, try to imagine life in 10 years’ time. What will you look like then? How will your children have grown up? Everything will be different, even if many things stay the same. It’s mostly unknown. And yet how you think about the future, shapes who you become.
Dr Cameron Harra wrote:
“Think of cooking a meal. Before you even begin, you have an understanding of your final result. You know what you’re making, what ingredients to add, in what order, and the cooking time. If you were to cook without knowing these steps, you would end up with anything but a good meal. Similarly, if you try to create the life you want without knowing what steps to take, you’ll live constantly short of your dreams.”
More than that, who you and your family become has everything to do with what happens to you all right now.
Life is more about the journey than the destination, right?
Looking at life in the past, and life in the future, are the realm of memory, or imagination. They are not concrete events happening right now, in front of you. Current happenings are the realm of the present.
And these are the moments with children that zoom by. This is where it is important to consciously treasure your time, because before you know it, life has moved on. Good times come. And they go.
As John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
So how do you make sure you have great moments to treasure as your children grow? And good times into adulthood?
Three steps to good times with your kids
1. Be Intentional
Don’t be like one mother-of-adults who told me, “Parenting my kids? I didn’t really even think about it!”
Sadly, she has tricky relationships with all her grown children, and for the most part, they are not in good places. This may have happened anyway, but because she wasn’t intentional in the way she brought her kids up, she feels like she missed an opportunity. As the Polish proverb says “Children are only young once.”
So, being an intentional parent is key.
Beyond good parenting techniques, being intentional has to do with being honest with yourself. It means reflecting on your own upbringing. And also taking a step back to notice your own parenting pitfalls and triumphs.
All of life takes on another meaning as an intentional parent – it’s about “being present” in the moment. It’s about doing more than just “being there”. It hinges on making a choice to have good times by choosing to engage with your children.
It’s another one of those areas where your choices are so important, like choosing to forgive someone.
This is the choice to have fun together, to cry together, and to work together.
Choosing to be present means putting down your phone, your newspaper, your book, your game or leaving your computer. It means making eye contact and having a conversation – from serious, to silly, to scientific, to spiritual.
The truth is, your children learn about most aspects of life from YOU. So make those moments count. Creating good times involves all those above aspects of being intentional, and probably more. If you think of any others, let us know in the Comments, below.
The truth is, your children learn about all aspects of life from YOU.
Making good times for your family is also about time-management.
Please note: It’s not the purpose of this blog to give you clues and pointers to time-managing your family. I’ve found lots of articles aboutthis on the internet, and you can too. They are all about, “Do this!” And “Do that!” And “Get this organised!” For those sorts of lists you can check parents.com; or workingmother.com.
Instead, please know how important key decisions are in making your time count. These include time-management, being intentional, strategic, compassionate, loving and a whole lot more.
As well, good time-management requires long-term commitment, and loving cooperation. And it all relies on you, because you are always role-modelling to your little pack.
So, I’ve found that being successful at time-management has a lot to do with your own inner resolve. About understanding what makes you tick. By reflecting on what your own family did when you were little. And by noticing the things you unconsciously absorbed. It’s also about being objective enough to ponder on the good, and the bad, and coming to some conclusions. This is where journal writing comes in. It’s amazing the amount of problem-solving I do in my journal. Find out more about journal writing like a boss here.
3. The Mystery Ingredient! Spontaneity
Do you want your family to have more fun? To feel like there are exciting things going on? That if they aren’t there, they might miss out on good times? This is the power of spontaneity.
Unexpectedly, to be spontaneous it really helps to be organised. I don’t get how this happens. I just know this universal truth: the more organised you are, the easier it is to be spontaneous.
A universal truth: the more organized you are, the easier it is to be spontaneous.
Having good times means making good memories with your family. To do it, you have to be intentional, and manage your time well. And once those two are in place, you can be gloriously spontaneous!
HERE ARE SOME SPONTANEOUS IDEAS:
- Perhaps you have a few hours to spare, so why not go for a swim at the local pool?
- If the right food is in the cupboard for a picnic, then one sunny afternoon you can gather up everyone and go do it!
- Or while teen daughter is out at youth group, you might do an unplanned screening of a toddler movie for the pre-schoolers at home, complete with movie food and drinks.
When you start to think about it, there are many spontaneous activities you can do. You could even brainstorm as a family all the things you *might* do on a whim, and pull the ideas out at unexpected moments. These are good times to be remembered and treasured as a family, for years to come.
Yes. You’ve got this. Creating good times. You can do it.
Let me know how you go in the Comments, below.