While walking my son to school today I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation going on on the sidewalk behind me. I never turned to look but I could gather that it was a mom and her two daughters also walking to school. They were probably 30 feet away but I could hear them clear enough that the two minute snippet of sound made me sad, mad, proud, and grateful all at the same time. It brought to mind the importance giving our children our time and presence and creating positive childhood memories.
Creating Happy Memories of Childhood
The girls were asking their mom to walk them all the way to the doors of the school. Actually they were almost begging mom to do so. However mom just kept replying that she couldn’t because she had to get to work. She finally told them that she would go as far as the bike rack but that was all. Let me paint the picture for you here.
The bike rack is approximately 100 feet from the actual school doors. Just 100 feet. Mom was willing to go that far but not willing to go the last 33.3 yards. The girls were disappointed to say the least. I still didn’t turn around as my son and I passed the bike rack but I am assuming that mom was long gone and headed back to her car because I heard one of the girls yell out “bye mom, I love you!’ Out of curiosity, I timed the extra distance and it took me three extra minutes – which included a goodbye hug and kiss with my son.
Don’t Miss Precious Opportunities
At this point I got sad. I thought what a pity that this mother lost a few precious minutes of morning time with her daughters. Yes, I am sure that she was pressed for time and her work was, and should be, a priority but honestly, it was 100 feet. 100 feet that seemed to mean the world to two elementary school girls on this morning. Roughly 180 seconds of time that she will never get back. Time that certainly would not cause her to miss a meeting or lose her job.
Find The Time To Create Happy Memories
Then I got a little mad. I thought that this mother should adjust her morning routine enough so she could give the extra time to those girls who wanted it. Needed it. Deserved it. Get up three minutes earlier. Leave the house three minutes earlier. Have one less cup of coffee. Whatever it takes, make the effort and find the extra time to go beyond the bike rack. Don’t shortchange your daughters because you can’t find three extra minutes in your day.
Childhood Slips By So Fast
After that, my anger turned to pride. I was proud of myself because every morning I happily and thankfully set aside 30 minutes to enjoy the six block walk to school with my son. We talk, laugh, practice homework, sing, hold hands, you name it. It is time for the Youngblood Men to bond. It is truly one of the best parts of my day and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But my pride was also in the fact that my son values this time as well. He wants to hold my hand, wants me to walk him all the way to the door. Wants to hug and kiss me goodbye. I don’t know how long that will last.
And finally I reached the gratitude phase. Simply thankful that I was lucky enough to spend my morning with a son who is healthy, happy, and loves his father. Thankful that I am lucky enough, and wise enough, to see the priorities in my life and act upon them. Grateful that I am able to share childhood moments with my boy in such small yet meaningful ways. And grateful that I had a dad who taught me the value of time and moments and memories in my childhood– and the value of not wasting that time.
Let me be clear and say that I don’t know the woman from this morning and I am certainly not judging her. Who knows what her morning was like or what her story might be. But if I did know her, I would have one thing to say to her. One favor to ask of her. Please go the extra 100 feet and spend the extra three minutes. For you and for your daughters. In the grand scheme of your day, and your life, those will be three minutes that you would give anything to have back ten years from now. Who knows what childhood memories and magic might happen in that last 100 feet?
Rob Youngblood is a Dad, TV Guy, Emmy Winner, Keynote Speaker, Communication Coach, Storyteller, and Writer. Learn more about him at https://www.youngbloodonthecoast.com/. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Importance of Healthy Diet and Exercise- Critical for Child Development
Free Gratitude Printables- Easy Kids Thanksgiving Craft
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
That is really sad. Work can wait, the kids can’t and shouldn’t have to.
Amber Edwards says
I’ve had bad days when I’m pulled to other things and I can see where a mom can get caught up in all the stress of what she needs to do to feel like she just can’t do any more. But at the same time, if you are already there, I can’t see not going the extra 3 minutes to the door.
I kinda want to defend this mom. I definitely get what you’re saying. But maybe she has been late to work 1 too many times. 3 minutes is actually a lot of time in some jobs. Maybe it was a one time thing, maybe being 3 minutes for work would have gotten her in trouble or late for a meeting. Yes, 3 minutes with our children is more important, but that job also makes sure her kids are fed and have a home. I feel bad for the girls, but I feel bad for the mom too that she couldn’t sacrifice those 3 minutes because she had to go to work.
Chelley @ A is For Adelaide says
I’ve totally been in the position where I hear a parent do/say/act in a way that I wish they wouldn’t… but I do try to remember, we all have those mornings. My Dad passed when I was a kid and while I remember ALL the good, I also remember the hard mornings- those made him human to me. I guess there were lots of memories we didn’t have, but there were a ton we did, because he worked and made the money to make very special ones. You are an amazing parent, for sure. Keep on being so for your son!
Autumn @MamaChallenge says
This is a great post! It is really important to remember that a few minutes can be very important to children.
Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom says
Your post made me sit back and really evaluate my relationship with my oldest son. We all have times that we can connect better with our children than actually doing at that moment.
Jennifer Mitchell says
I just love this post! I know even I have times where I need to stop what I’m doing and connect with my daughter more.
Work can always wait. The few minutes you spend with your kid are precious.
janis @mommyblogexpert says
What a sweet story of the importance of family. Love the bond you have with your child.
What a great blog post. It’s so true that it’s really the little things that matter to the kids the most.