I haven’t been a father very long. Nearly eight years. But the truth is, it even feels shorter than that. I swear it seems like two weeks ago I was struggling to figure out how to strap Kya, my first-born daughter, into her car seat as I slowly drove her home from the hospital for the first time. Now, she’s about to celebrate her eighth birthday. So, what is the art of stopping time? I have three ideas.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t slow time down. It simply speeds by without my permission. So what I have to learn as an intentional dad is to make the most out of the moments I do have because soon they’ll be gone.
One of the crazy things that happened the night Jesus was born, was that shepherds showed up right after Mary had delivered her baby. Think about that from Joseph’s perspective—after struggling to finally find a place safe enough for your wife to give birth and then going through the nerve-racking experience of delivering your own baby, and just as your exhausted wife is trying to rest, a handful of random dirty dudes barge in describing a crazy story about angels.
But as the shepherds are detailing their heavenly encounter, “…Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often,” (Luke 2:19 NLT). Mary was trying to take in the moment. She was trying to slow time down. She wanted to embrace everything that came with being a mother.
So how can we do the same? How can we be sure to not let the quickly fading moments with out kids pass us by? Here are three things I try to keep in mind:
#1 Work Can Wait
Because of email, text messages, and smartphones, we have made ourselves accessible at all times. And because there is always work to be done, many jobs like to take advantage of the fact that we are always accessible. I have to keep in mind that my job, at the end of the day, is just a job. And when the time comes to walk my daughters down the aisle on their wedding days, I probably won’t be thinking, “I wish I would have spent more time answering emails.”
#2 Turn off the T.V.
I believe SportCenter is one of the greatest innovations that man has come up with. But, if I let it, it can suck away a lot of my time. Quality time with my kids is vital, but so is quantity time. Just being present with my girls makes a world of difference in our relationship. This blog recently covered 3 mistakes sabotaging your evening (maybe your marriage & fathering) that’s worth a look.
#3 Be okay with things I don’t want to do
My youngest daughter is four years old and one of her favorite things to play is My Little Pony in which I have to be a pony named Rainbow Dash. This may be surprising, but as a 38 year-old man, My Little Pony is not my go-to hobby. But the way she laughs when we play is much longer and louder than when I try to convince her to watch March Madness with me, so I’ll be Rainbow Dash anytime she asks.
Biblical fatherhood understands that sometimes, work can wait, the importance of turning off the tv and to be okay with things you don’t want to do. Do these three things, I’ll time will stop. Well, sort of.
This is a guest post from Eric Ballard. Eric is a youth and college pastor in Texas where he lives with his beautiful wife and two daughters. He is the author of several books and loves the Mississippi State Bulldogs, where he attended college for too many years. Because of an illustrious soccer career that was cut too short, most nights, Eric still sits by the phone waiting for the Houston Dynamo to finally call him up. Find him at ericrballard.com.
Like this post and think you’d like writing for Manhood Journey? Email Ryan Sanders your idea and he’ll either not reply because your idea is that bad—or he’ll assign you a deadline.