I had to babysit to be reminded of these 3 surprising things.

You’ve heard it a million times – They grow up so fast. If you’re like me, you thought, “No they don’t! Sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever grow up!”

Raising kids is so … daily. I felt like we’d always be surrounded by munchkins with needs, the fussing from the back seat of the car would never end and we would never again enjoy a quiet dinner. I couldn’t imagine it would change. But it did.

A few weeks ago Jana and I had a wow! flashback experience. We spent several days babysitting our granddaughters – ages 6 years and 19 months. That experience reminded me of the whirlwind parents face every day. But it also reminded me of some surprising and important things.

I’m not an advocate of forcing kids to move out when they turn 18 but if your child does, what percentage of time do you have left with them living under your roof? At 6 years old our granddaughter is already 1/3 of the way down the road to moving out. What?! She’s only  6!

For parents the days are long but the years are short. With that in mind, let me suggest three things:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

There’ll come a day when you can keep the carpet spotless, when kids won’t trample your grass, when the house will always be orderly and the evenings will be amazingly long. Don’t go ballistic if you can’t keep everything just the way you want it right now.

  • Savor this time.

Build enduring memories and don’t be too anxious to have your kids grow up. I’m not saying let them remain childish but do encourage them to remain child-like – even as adults. (Jesus said that’s important.)

  • Invest wisely

You only have a few years with your kids at home under your direct influence. Don’t waste this precious time with your head – or allowing theirs to be – always buried in the TV, video games, work or other passing distractions.

You can waste your life on that stuff later. Use this time for eye-to-eye, face-to-face relationship building that will last a life-time and shape their eternity.

The task of preparing kids for eternity is huge and your time is short. But, obviously, you can do this thing because God entrusted these kids – his kids – to you. So go after it and know that He is cheering for you.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

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