“The best inheritance a person can give to his children is a few minutes of his time each day " O. A. Battista
We have always tried to be home with our kids a few evenings a week—times that we could all just “be.” We have found that these semi-unscheduled times allow for the best conversations, character training, and heart string tying.
However, two years ago, our first daughter (and second child) moved five states away to college to work on a theology degree to add to her nursing degree. A few months later our second daughter (third child) got married. And yes, sadly, the wedding was followed by the third daughter leaving for college four states away. In a span of thirteen months, all three girls were gone. And to think that I thought I was so smart and clever by talking the first two girls into staying home and doing college locally! That plan quickly backfired when they all moved out in rapid succession!
With the departure of the first daughter, we found that simply having so many evenings a week together as a family wasn’t enough. We came to realize that our kids (especially our older kids) needed for us to be more flexible than we had been. (We have a home business and a family ministry, in addition to Ray’s full time job and homeschooling, so we often have to work in the evenings and on weekends.)
As the girls moved away, we needed more “flex” time in our schedule to talk to them on the phone, to sit down with Cami and Joseph and discuss marriage, to go to Joshua and Lisa’s and see them and be with them. Our kids, despite their “adult” ages, needed us. It was then that Ray and I looked at each other and realized that we needed “flex” time in our day—sixty minutes or more that was “flexible,” empty of anything scheduled. Time that wasn’t taken up with other things. Minutes that were just available for our kids to talk to us.
…Um….excuse me. One of the girls is calling…time for me to be “flexible” here! Smile…
Okay..I’m back. Wowsie, she is a sweet girl! We all miss her so much!
Anyway, I found that by knowing that I was going to give my kids an extra hour a day (besides the regular scheduled things that we often have with them, like family nights, work nights, read alouds, their activities, etc.), I did not feel so interrupted when I got called unexpectedly. Additionally, I sit down leisurely and call them just to chat. I know that most nights I will talk one-on-one with at least two of the grown kids and one of the boys (who are still at home). No rush. No schedule to keep. I have an hour a day for them. I am flexible….because I know my kids need me.