(a guest post from Abouna)
Adults have three categories of time: past, present, and future. Kids also have three categories of time: present, present, and present. It’s true that kids forget the past, and the future is very tough for them to grasp. It means when your child comes to ask you to play, he wants you to play with him right now. He forgot the long day at the zoo yesterday and cannot handle “I’ll play with you in half an hour.” It means that you need to be flexible. He will be satisfied with 10 minutes now if you can give it.
This is also a lesson for us. Remember, the present is a present (a gift). We, as adults, either waste our present by investing it in thoughts of the past, wondering about our old mistakes, and puffing ourselves up with our old glories–or we ruin the present by day-dreaming about our future victories, our legs dangling over the edge of an imaginary pier.
When you are with your child, remember that quality time counts. Don’t fiddle with your phone. Don’t get lost in your own thoughts. Be honest in giving the attention that he needs. Yes, at the end, he’ll say to you, “We didn’t play enough,” but this will be a lesson in boundaries. You can respond saying, “This is what I can give you now.” You cannot give the past, and you cannot guarantee the future. With your kids as your guides, live the moment.