The Gift of Time
I asked my children recently what their favorite childhood memory was. Here are their responses:
Oldest Daughter: Family Game Night
Oldest Son: Watching the Phillies win the World Series with Dad.
Youngest Daughter: Family Vacations
Youngest Son: Asking Jesus into his heart.
What they didn’t say —
Oldest Daughter: She didn’t say when we bought her the Breyer’s horse and stable set that she REALLY wanted. She didn’t say when we bought her the snuggable stuffed unicorn, or the spy kit, or her first bike, or even when she got her first cell phone.
Oldest Son: He didn’t say when he got the Star Wars action figures, or when he got the new set of Phillies baseball cards that he REALLY wanted, when he got his first glove and baseball bat, or even when he got a subscription to Phillies baseball magazine.
Youngest Daughter: She didn’t say when she got her first digital camera that she REALLY wanted, or when she got that fantastic (expensive) Lego set, or her favorite stuffed puppy.
Youngest Son: He didn’t say when he got his favorite teddy bear, or when he got the coveted Lego set, or the Ninjago spinners, the DVD he REALLY wanted, or the amazing art set he uses all the time.
My oldest daughter loved the time we had laughing and playing together during family night. My oldest son loved watching his favorite team win while he stayed up late with his dad. My youngest daughter loved the fun times we had together as a family at the beach, and my youngest son has a strong memory of us taking the time to pray together, while he dedicated his life to Christ.
All of my children said what really stood out to them was time. Time with God. Time with Mom. Time with Dad. Time with family.
As much as our children say they REALLY want all these different toys and gadgets they see at the stores (and from the ads so conveniently sent to our homes), deep down, these things aren’t what have made an impact on their lives. For this reason, the past several years my husband and I have been giving our children “Gifts of Time” for Christmas — gifts that give us the opportunity to enjoy creating memories with our children. Here are a few suggestions of “Time Gifts” we’ve given:
- Out to eat — One on one time with Mom or Dad at a restaurant. We often don’t go to expensive places. Sometimes we go out for breakfast or even out for an ice cream or a donut.
- To a Musical — My oldest daughter and I love musicals, so each year we try to go see one together. They often have been inexpensive because we’ve gone to see shows at local high schools or at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.
- To the Ballet – My kids and I have been to see several ballets. What a blessing! At Christmas time every year the Free Library of Philadelphia puts on a free production of the Nutcracker.
- To a Sports Event — My sons have been out to see baseball games and basketball games with their dad. Of course, as Phillies fans, they loved to see the Phillies, but when money is tight my husband takes them to see the Camden River Sharks. Going to see the Temple Owls or another local college play basketball have been inexpensive great “Time Gifts.”
- Rock Climbing — My youngest children like to climb. There are great rock climbing walls in and outside of Philadelphia. They have been great memory makers for our kids. For younger kids, even a family trip to a McDonald’s or Burger King with an indoor playground can be a great hit.
- Laser Tag/Paint Ball — Depending on the ages of your kids, a whole family might be able to do this together.
- Hear a Comedian: in the past we’ve gone to see the “Great Holtze”. We look forward to seeing Tim Hawkins this year. He will be coming to Philly this March.
- To a Concert: If your children enjoy music, they may enjoy listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra. For a less expensive evening out, consider taking your children to hear CAPA’s or Benjamin Rush High School’s orchestra play. (These schools are both high schools for the performing arts; the students there are outstanding!)
I’ve found the gift of time is often what God wants from me as well. He wants my children and I to spend time reading His Word and in prayer each day. He wants us to make time to sing Christmas carols to those in nursing homes, and to visit family and neighbors who are lonely — to visit church members who haven’t been coming lately. Going to visit them means so much more than sending a card or present.
As I write this the Holy Spirit is convicting me. I am thinking about the many people I’ve haven’t spent enough time with this year! May God forgive me! Busyness gets in the way so easily.
Lord, help me to make more time for You, my family, and those that are important to me! Stuff won’t last very long; building memories can last a lifetime!
Ecclesiastes 1:14 “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
What time gifts do you suggest? Feel free to leave comments on this blog!
Copyright November 30, 2012 by Gwen Fredette
Scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)