The 401K of
I wish I had been smarter with my money so much earlier in life. Granted, there are still many days my last few dollars go to Starbucks instead of my savings. Sorry…caffeine wins many times. I have talked to men who are much later in their lives who regret starting so late to put aside any finances for the future. This is a scary thought, but after talking to those who have walked this journey farther than I have, there seems to be a much more important investment that many of these men have missed: Lost time.
I recently heard a statistic that we have at an average of 50,000 hours with our kids until they are essentially off and running on their own. Fifty-thousand hours of time that we can invest in the lives of the most precious and valuable things we have ever touched and had the privilege of seeing become all they could be. So by the time our children are ten, we have seen more than 30,000 of these hours come and go. I don’t want to live in fear of looking back and regretting lost time.
I don’t want that for you either.
We have a breaking point of time where we can, with greater veracity and impact, invest in the lives of our children. Think about those times when you come home from work and are tired, possibly upset and worn down about what the day had to offer. Then you get out of your car and the most amazing thing happens. The door swings open or you hear footsteps running down the sidewalk followed by the words, “Daddy! Mommy!”
Wow! What was I just complaining about?
What were my worries? These kids don’t see the broken mess we see in the mirror and the mistakes of the past; they see a superhero! How are we leveraging this? Do we use this time in their lives to speak words of life and hope and encouragement, or do we overlook these times to fulfill our needs first? Are we spending more time building a great life for our families that we never spend any time with our families?
I pray we would use the time we are gifted with to invest wisely in our children. We need to engage this before we reach the time they would rather us keep a distance when they are with their friends, or when we become an ATM.
I pray we take the time to invest now so the investment later will be exponentially greater. Take the time now while we have time to invest where it really matters—where the dividends we receive later in life have a far greater payout than any dollar ever invested will. Time is short. James 4:14 says life is a vapor and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I understand coming home being tired and worn out and then having to be an engaged, listening father. There are many days I want to just stop and do nothing, and there are days I do that. Then I think about how fast time goes by and how much those little ears are waiting to hear from their superhero.
They want to listen today. We need to speak today.
Without saying a word, they scream to us how much they desire us to lead them. Are we leading them the way we wanted to be led? Are we loving them the way we wanted to be loved at their age? Psalm 127:3 says children are a heritage of the Lord, a gift! Are we treating the time we have with them as a gift? Or are we moving so fast we’re missing the gift and not spending time wisely? I don’t want to look back on the pictures of my children’s youth and wish I had invested better. I don’t want you to do that either. So let’s invest wisely now, because now is all we have.
Now is the time to share with them what we feel about them—how proud we are to be their parents. We have time to reveal we are not perfect. We can make mistakes and then do the most amazing thing… apologize to them. Be the hero they need to see, not the false identity of an out-of-touch person they can never measure up to… But now I digress. I’ll leave that for another post.