As parents, we all tend to get overwhelmed by the rigor of life in one way or another. We get caught up and neglect the good, simple moments. We forget to choose gratitude. Instead, we worry and stress about our jobs, we begin to seriously doubt our self-worth, we second guess every action and decision, and we fail to cultivate and maintain the positive relationships in our lives that truly matter.
In short, we are losing precious time that we can never get back.
I am a father of five kids and it’s safe to say that my house can get loud and out of control at times. Yesterday, I found myself annoyed and frustrated because my older kids were screaming and yelling. I wanted to watch my show, and all my son wanted me to do was sit there and watch him play video games all day.
Who’s got time for that?
All I wanted to do was sit there and enjoy some peace and quiet and instead I had NO peace and TONS of loudness.
Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Maybe you don’t have five kids, maybe you only have one or two. You understand why I was frustrated right? All I wanted was some peace and quiet so I could hear myself think. So yes, I was upset for a few moments, and then I realized something very profound.
“I will never be able to get this time back will I?”
Let’s look at the facts. My oldest daughter is headed off to college soon, my other daughters are growing up way too fast, so playtime with dad won’t last much longer, and my son is getting to that age where soon, Dad will no longer be the center of his world.
What will I miss by focusing on the negatives rather than what this situation could be?
So in that moment, I took a deep breath, scanned the room, and closed my eyes for a few seconds to express my gratitude instead of focusing on my attitude. I opened my eyes and all of the feelings of anger and frustration were replaced with smiles and laughter.
“You can always pause a movie, but you can’t ever pause life.”
After that deep breath, I was in Dad heaven and I never wanted to leave. I talked with my oldest daughter Brinley about boys. I got a huge hug from my daughter, Emma, which never happens. I played piano with my daughter Clara. I snuggled with my daughter, Aften, and yes, I even sat in front of the TV and watched my son play video games for about an hour. Then, to top the night off, I was able to spend quality time with my wife, free of distractions.
Everything changed the moment I chose gratitude over attitude.
You won’t get back the time you lost, but you can start—today—to enjoy all the time you have left.
Featured Image Credit: Franco Zavala