“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
As I was dusting my bookshelf, I came upon a clock that I have cherished for 25 years. A gold plaque sits at the bottom of the clock, which says “As time Passes I still Remember You!” It came from the hands of one of my first graders, who had the kindest heart. This little boy, when we would go to recess, would pull a little chair up by me and would ask me to pray for his family, friends and world events. This child was truly beyond his years. Even though as a busy teacher I was very concerned about other students playing on the playground at recess, I knew this was a God assignment that would take time. Time spent with a child spells LOVE. I am so thankful for the teachers who took extra time with me.
October is “National Clock Month.” As teachers, we teach telling time with paper plate clocks, big wooden clocks, little wooden clocks, watches, etc. Reference to “Father time” personifies time as a sweet, elderly gentleman dressed in a long robe with a beard, holding a scythe in one hand and an hourglass in the other hand. Too, we are gently reminded that with Daylight Saving Time, on Sunday, Nov. 1, our clocks are to be turned back one hour.
During this year of 2020 – of the pandemic – time has taken on a very new meaning. We have seen the value of true focused-in time spent with our children. Yes, many families have had to re-juggle work schedules and activity schedules to take care of their children at home as they go to school virtually with their teachers. As a teacher, I can reflect on the many class days that I have been so caught up with lesson planning, setting up language, math, science, social studies, art, music and grading papers that when I come upon day’s end, I reflect back: did I truly spend time with each student for that day or was I focused more on the “to dos”?
The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:7 how we should teach our children. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” God provides time needed for us to teach our children.
Children grow up so quickly. By the time parents and grandparents turn around, our children are grown. I think parents and grandparents agree that we wish we could turn back the clock hands to spend more time with our children. This is why as a teacher of young children, I lovingly suggest spending as much precious time interacting with infants, toddlers, two’s and preschoolers. “Take time out for parenthood.”
The importance of spending time with your children creates so many benefits that helps them in life.
1. Spending one-on-one time with children strengthens a trusted bond between you and them for a lifetime. Time spent with a young child or children is something they will always remember. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or plan so many activities in their lives to keep them happy. Talking and listening to young children, singing with young children or walking and taking a simple autumn nature hunt with young children builds bonds of happiness. Too, a simple hug from Mom or Dad can crown your young child with joy, happiness and security. If you have more than one child, set a day in a week where it is that you and that child can spend time together. Maybe just you and that child sharing a lunch together, a dessert together, a walk together, sharing a story together, etc. The same can be done with your older children with activities appropriate for their age.
2. Spending time with your child says to them that they are so important to you as their parent or grandparent. This builds their self-esteem; it affirms that they are special and unique. As parents and grandparents this is special time that we can embrace how God made a child with their uniqueness, individualism, talents and gifts. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” -Psalm 139:14.
3. Spending time with your children offers an opportunity to get to know how your children feel. We remember the song “Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You” from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s musical, “The King and I”. It is so important for children to be able to express themselves emotionally to their parents. This takes spending time with young and older children. Listen to them and let them share from their hearts and perspective. We have to keep in mind as parents that our children may view the world and other people in a different way. Time spent with them offers life opportunities to talk and even role play between parents and child’s difficult situations. Too, positive situations can be shared of what makes them happy and brings them JOY.
4. Spending time with your children can be a time that you and your child can set goals and guidelines for getting chores done, doing projects and spending family time. Stopping and spending time with your child in explaining what they need to do, such as cleaning up their rooms, taps into listening and cognitive skills and teaches about them about following through with parent instructions.
5. Other ways that time can be spent with our children is in doing homework together, reading favorite books together, cooking favorite family dishes together, enjoying outside family activities together and many others.
From my heart to yours, I hope this simple article has pointed out that time is truly a gift for you and your children. Cherish each day and the relationship that you have with your children and in their hearts forever and ever; they will remember you.
Classroom Observer, Beth Pinyerd