I remember hearing someone mention that you have 18 summers with your kids before they move out for college, or move onto some form of independence.
When I first heard that idea, I thought 18 summers was a ton of time! Maybe you are having the same sentiment.
I even thought, wow, with 18 summers we can do a ton together. Teach them about money, go to Europe, read the Bible together, help them start a business, share all my wisdom with them, play lots of pickleball and the list goes on.
Some of those activities can happen, but if we are not careful most of them do not happen.
Even though we live in an instant gratification world and we have a high level of urgency with how fast our food comes or how fast our purchase is delivered from Amazon, we tend to not have the same urgency with our family.
We can often think, “We will just do it next week.” Or, “This summer is too busy, so we will just do it next summer.” I agree with not over-packing our summers, however, delaying something one week, leads to the next summer, which leads to the possibility of never doing it.
We need to make sure our time is intentional, and not one of passivity.
This applies to all areas of our life, not just our 18 summers with our kids. The urgency we have to spend time with our extended family and friends, and what we want to accomplish in life.
We need to make sure we are intentionally going after things that matter, and not aimlessly wandering from task to task, scrolling social media, or watching TV.
Time is of the essence.
There is great wisdom in thinking about how many summers we have left with our kids.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12
Did you see the key phrase? “That we.”
When we number our days and put a level of urgency in our life, the constraint gives us wisdom. When our choices are narrowed, we can make better choices. When constraints are in place, we have a heightened propensity to action.
We see this when going out to eat. If you can choose any restaurant to go out to eat, then we often can get ‘analysis by paralysis’. However, if we say let’s go eat Mexican or BBQ, then our options are reduced, and we are quicker to make a choice.
The same thing applies to how we spend our time. When we think we have a whole lifetime of summers with our kids, we delay choice and action. However, if we put in a constraint, then we will be forced to make decisions.
So, let’s put this into action. Here are two promptings to take action, one for home, and one for work.
How many summers do you have left with each of your kids?
What are some of the big ideas you want to do with them?
If your kids have moved out, then what about spending time with your adult kids? Or grandkids?
Spend some time plotting out the timeline to make it happen.
How many years left do you have in your career?
What are some of the big accomplishments you have outside of rising the ranks with your employer? Maybe to write a book, or join a nonprofit, or become a board member.
List out some of those ideas and plot them on a timeline to start taking action.
Unfortunately, I am feeling the tension of all the above. My oldest daughter is now 18, soon to be 19.
In May, she completed her first year of college at the University of South Carolina and is about to come home from a 6-week mission trip to Nicaragua. I am so proud of all that she is doing, however, my time with her is now limited.
Thus, my encouragement to myself and to you is to take action. Make every moment count!
Reach out to let me know what you are doing!