I’ve benefited by deadlines. The fact is, without them I doubt I would have accomplished half of the things I’ve done over the years. Especially when it came to parenting.
By the time our first child was a year old we realized that eighteen years were going to go by really fast! That built in deadline for when a child traditionally leaves home was good motivation for me to be very intentional about parenting.
Related Post: Every Parent Needs a “Just One More Thing” List Close By
Bernice and I made a commitment to make the most of the limited time we had to impact our children while they were still living under our roof and more under our control than they would ever be again after that. It helped me keep my family a top priority. And it motivated me to make the most of the limited time I had to raise my children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
How are You Spending Your Time?
It would have been easy for me to fill up my time with other things. Like the church I was pastoring. Or my golf game. For a time, I actually had aspirations of playing golf on the PGA Senior Tour. I figured if I could practice enough and play enough, by the time I was fifty I just might qualify.
It didn’t happen. I’m a pretty good golfer, but not that good. And even if I could have made it, I would have sacrificed too much related to my family.
I invested my time instead into raising my kids. We spent time together. I was there at their games, and even coached when I could. We went to church together. We did yard work together. We read bedtime stories together. We talked and prayed and swam and vacationed and did homework and cried and laughed and did a myriad of other things together.
The “Leaving Home” Countdown
When our oldest child reached high school, it gave us a heightened awareness that in a few short years he would be leaving home and moving into a dorm or apartment on a college campus. That eighteen-year deadline was fast approaching.
Like a tsunami siren, that deadline got me even more seriously committed to making the most of the last few years each of our kids would be in our home. That included coming up with a list of topics that we wanted to make sure we went over “just one more time” before they left home and went out into the world on their own.
Find an Approach That Works for You
So we put together a binder with a short chapter on each of the topics from our list. Each chapter had some basic information and then some questions or Bible verses to think about.
Throughout Brent’s senior year he and I went out for a late Saturday breakfast a couple times a month. We would discuss one topic each time over a stack of pancakes. And I intentionally made sure it was a conversation and not a lecture!
This Book Could Help
Over the years since then I have often been asked to put into print something that could help other parents make sure their kids are ready to leave home and live life on their own. So we wrote Just One More Thing… Before You Leave Home. Each chapter is a great conversation starter for you and your child.
Eighteen years goes by really fast. Make sure you make the most of the time.
by Dave Gudgel