I took a speed reading course one time with a Groupon deal I had seen. The 3 hour course reviewed methods to help you to start reading 300 page books in a couple hours. I can say I have never truly used the skills I learned that day when reading. I find it makes reading another task to complete instead of it being enjoyable. I suppose I haven’t really given the methods a chance.
As a father though, I have two little girls whose main purpose in life, if I put on my selfish hat for a moment, is to take my time away from me, and to make sure I am as unproductive as possible.
How dare Shiloh ask me to go outside and watch her ride on her tricycle, or stay inside and play with play dough? How dare she get out of her bed saying she can’t sleep, after I already spent 30 minutes putting her to bed. How dare Gracie not fall asleep as soon as she has been washed, fed, changed, and swaddled, complete with crib vibrator and wind/pink noise speakers blaring.
Don’t these kids know that I am a person too, and I need time to myself to get things done or just relax?
Love is spelled T-I-M-E, and each…time…I say, “Yes, I will go play with you outside,” or, “Yes, I will come lay down with you for another 10 minutes to help you fall asleep,” I am actually saying to my kids, “I love you! I love you more than I love time to myself or my own planned schedule!”
I think of the story of Mary and Martha from the Bible, where Martha is busy cooking and cleaning for her guests, who include Jesus, and her sister Mary is just checked out of the busyness, sitting at Jesus feet, giving her time to hear him speak (Luke 10:38–42). Jesus corrects Martha, after she pointed out her sister’s laziness, reminding her that with the Messiah in the room, she is right to be spending time with him while he was still here on earth.
Our children are not God that we should drop all other responsibilities to just play with them all day every day. But I do think that when we throw aside our schedules to spend time with our kids, as the role of earthly fathers echo our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we are reminding our kids that we love them.
And their heavenly Dad loves them even more than you do. He will be with them always, and is always listening and watching, because he will always make time for us. Because he loves us.