That is the approximate amount of weeks that a parent has with their child from birth until they graduate from high school.
You have been waiting nine months and finally you are holding that small, soft, and helpless being that you helped to create; one of the most amazing of God’s miracles lies quietly (hopefully) asleep in your arms, and time seems to stand still to let you soak it all in.
Fast-forward to today, as a now veteran parent, you know that was the last time that has ever happened. Your world now consists of taking kids to school, picking them up, getting them to soccer, baseball and/or gymnastics and ballet.
You run frantically trying to figure out when to find time for homework, extra practice before the big game on Saturday, and what to eat for dinner tonight; and that was just Monday.
Our world today is full of stuff and many times you may feel that even though you are with your kids, there is a lack of quality time! The number 936 that use to seem huge when they were little, now it gets smaller and smaller, the bigger they get.
The good news is that you are not alone; this is a problem that all parents everywhere struggle with. I am not an expert and I won’t pretend that all of these ideas are exclusively mine. But I can attest from experience that these ideas do work. Here are three ways to improve quality time with your children.
I have a 14-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son and the reality is, the older my kids get, the busier their lives get, and the more intentional I have to be if I want to have influence in their lives.
At our church we use a kids curriculum from the ReThink Group called, “Orange.” One of the verses they use is Deuteronomy 6:6-9 which says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
Now you may be wary of binding things on the foreheads of your kids, but the principles in these verses should definitely become practices for parents who want to impact their kids.
Use dinner time (when you sit at home, vs7) to talk about their day and then interject Biblical truth when the opportunity arises.
We don’t walk places as much anymore but what about those car rides to school, to practice, and to run errands? What a great time (when you walk along the road), to grab a kids devotional and have them read a page out of it and discuss it or say a quick prayer about a situation they are dealing with.
Eventually children have to sleep and this down time is a great time to model how to pray or to read them a verse or two before the day is over.
The point is, there are times in our day that instead of just going about the task that is at hand, you can use them to impact the lives of your kids.
Connect with your kids on their level and at their interests
There was a time in my life where I enjoyed firing up the old Nintendo Entertainment System and trying to punch out Mike Tyson, but as a now 40-year-old man those days are gone. Not necessarily because it wouldn’t be fun but because sadly my video game time passed when they added more than two buttons.
My son on the other hand is a video game savant; he usually can beat his newest game in two days flat. I have found that even though I am terrible at video games, it can be a great time to bond and hang out with my son. When my boy is older, hopefully he will think about what a great time he had whooping up on is dad at whatever game it was and cherish those moments as much as I do now.
If you are the parent of a teenage girl, then you know how difficult and honestly, painful listening can be at times. You undoubtedly will learn and be given more information than you ever wanted in one conversation.
You will now know about every relationship in the entire school. You will be privy to who the teacher is that no one likes because of the amount of homework they give.
You will learn what your teenager is passionate about and what they absolutely cannot stand. Luke 6:45 says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When you spend time listening to your children, you get to know what is in their hearts. And just so you know that listening to all those seemingly pointless discussions are worth it, someone once said, “if you will take the time to listen to the small things, your kids will come to you with the big things.”
The number gets smaller everyday that your kids are alive, but hopefully you realize that there is still time to have a great impact on the lives of your kids.