Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Can Work Anytime

Today is a red-letter day here in Indonesia. No, actually tomorrow is the red-letter day, but school is closed for a full week and a half. The Balinese Hindu holidays of Galungan and Kuningan happen twice a year. Galungan always falls on a Wednesday with Kuningan coming ten days later.
The school year started in mid-July, but didn’t really get going until after Indonesian Independence Day on August 17. That was a Friday this year. Kids went back to school on Saturday. Then they were off for a Muslim holiday on the following Monday. Back to school for exactly one week. Now, they are off for a week and a half again. No wonder they have to start school so early with so many holidays interrupting the school year.
This means that Rachel is home for ten days straight. I love having her around. However, I can’t take the same extended holiday that school kids get to take. I still have to get some work done.
As she is my only child, unless one of her friends comes over to play, or she goes to her friend’s house, Rachel is kind of at loose ends when it comes to keeping herself occupied.  I will joyously celebrate the day that she becomes proficient enough at reading that a book can absorb her interest for part of her day.
But that day is not yet. We had spent much of the morning sorting through her toys, choosing some to give away, throwing away the toys that were broken beyond repair, and generally putting things back to rights.
I then sat down at my computer to get some work done. Rachel moved some of her playthings into my office to be near me. No problem to me as long as she is quiet. She took a familiar song and put new words to it … a habit she has picked up from me. At one point, I tuned in to what she was singing. It went something like this.

You can work anytime.
But I am here with you right now.
Please stop and pay attention … to me.

As she got to the end of the song, she leaned against me and looked up with the most adorable smile. 
Do you sense a bit of manipulation here? Yeeeeeah. I suppose. Rachel is good at that.
But was she right? Yeeees. I can work anytime. Well, almost anytime. I can’t take the full ten days off that she has off, but I didn’t absolutely have to do what I was doing right then. There was no reason it couldn’t wait.
It is true that kids need to learn that they are not the absolute center of the entire universe. They do need to learn to share their parents’ attention with siblings and with others.  However, we can’t expect our kids to be content with a distracted, “Yes, sweetie, that’s nice,” when that is pretty much all the response they get on a regular basis.
Time flies by so quickly. My daughter won’t be small forever. There will come a time when her friends and other activities will exert a much stronger pull on her than they do now. If I don’t take the time to just be with her when she is young, I’ll likely find that she won’t take the time to be with me when she is older.
After all, when our kids are grown, they won’t care how many blog posts we wrote … or read. They won’t recall fondly all those Sunday School lessons or Bible studies we prepared. They may or may not remember positively all those hours we spent ministering to others in the course of a typical week.
All those loads of laundry we do, dirty dishes we wash, or meals we cook won’t mean all that much to them in retrospect, although they certainly enjoy the benefits and would miss it if those things weren’t done. All those things are important. Please don’t misunderstand me. All those things need to be done, but they are not what will fill up our kids’ hearts with the certainty and security that comes from knowing absolutely that they are loved.
What I am saying is that we need to be sure to regularly push back from our kitchen stove, our vacuum cleaner, our computer … whatever it is that takes major portions of our focus and energy … and be all there for our kids.

When our kids are grown, the kinds of memories they treasure will not be the memory of Mom running the vacuum cleaner over the living room carpet. They will remember Mom sitting down on that less-than-spotless carpet to play Candy Land with them. The memory of Mom weeding the flower bed won’t warm their hearts, but the fifteen minutes she spent playing tag in the back yard will.
I am writing to myself as much as to anyone else. Let’s hear the cry of our children’s hearts.
You can work anytime.
But I am here with you right now.
Please stop and pay attention … to me.

Children are a treasure from the Lord.
Psalm 127:3 (paraphrased)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any thoughts on this post? I would love to hear from you.

Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog