We’ve all heard the adage “Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later”. It seems that the original meaning of that was intended to spur us to “Pay Now”, as an advantage, to invest in a sense, instead of paying a higher price later. This applies to many areas of life. For example:
- Health – eat salad now, or pay for prescriptions later
- Property – perform regular maintenance on your car or house, else see the costly repairs later
- Finances – pay cash now, or pay more in interest later
- Relationship – invest in the friendship now, or suffer distance later
When it comes to marriage and parenting, it takes time. You can invest now or pay later. None of us get it done perfectly, especially since we are left guessing many times on what “exactly” we are to do. When your child develops from newborn to toddler to teenager, they change and it can make things a little mystifying. I’ve found that (and I’m banking on) spending sheer vast amounts of time with my daughter will add up to huge deposits later. Do I spend hours everyday just one on one with my girl? No, that isn’t always possible, however I do carve out at least 1 hour or more where we can be together – to talk, play and cut-up in general. Mostly I ask her what she wants to do and let her dictate what we do (for the most part). She knows that I accept her regardless, although I know her heart gravitates to play things that I enjoy as well.
Is it always fun? No, it isn’t. However, whenever I do sit down to time with my girl, it is always a blessing later.
Am I frequently tired after a long day of brain-draining activities? Yes, I’d rather go do some things I like myself, but my time with CK is limited and I’d rather put aside some frivolous fun for myself than to neglect. That time is really benefital to both of us.
I’m not saying parents must ignore their own lives, get sucked dry to the bone and then be no good to anyone. That is definitely a “Pay Me Later” scenario. Rather I’m suggesting that children are our biggest priority, outside of God (#1) and Spouse (#2). There is that old song “Cats in the Cradle” by Henry Chapin about the dad who was always too busy to play with his son. We know that song and it pulls our hearts because it’s so true.
As the book Revolutionary Parents by George Barna states – (and I paraphrase): Children will become who their parents are. That is the model they see, that is all they know. Patterns of behavior will be modeled for years to come.
Examine your daily and weekly schedule: How much one on one time do you spend with each of your children? Are you assuming they will turn out “OK” by default, or are you pouring into their lives on a daily basis?
I can’t say it any better than the Fram Oil Filter guy: