Alarm, breakfast, clothes, late homework, traffic, work deadlines, voicemails, oil change, kid’s practices, dinner, bed time, more work…
Do any of the above resonate with you?
At the beginning of fatherhood I was able to work for myself at home as well as homeschool our children. We had slow mornings where rushing was non existent. We took the day on at our own pace, which could change depending on what the day held for us. However, when our children reached Kindergarten age I took a job requiring me to be at the office by 9am and the kids had to be to school by 8:30am. And thus began a wild routine of hurry in our lives.
Wake everyone up, flip pancakes at a high speed, search to find the missing shoe, one child decides they no longer like the pre picked out shirt and refuses to wear anything else. Moments where I was intentional to help my children process their emotions and be the loving, patient father I aimed to be are now unintentionally thrown out the window as I rush around and often frustrated that my children weren’t meeting my quota for getting out the door. We gotta go! Hurry we are going to be late! Quick we need to leave now! Traffic is moving too slow!
But it wasn’t just the mornings. My kids ask me to play, I lay on the floor with a doll in one hand and my phone in the other. Scrolling through social media while every couple minutes making the doll talk. I found myself sitting on the couch continuing to work whilst my kids talked a hundred miles a minute and I gave them divided attention. My schedule was filled with extra tasks, leaving little room to even transition from one to the next.
When we, as parents, spend our time hurrying and rushing from one responsibility and task to the next, it robs us of the opportunity to produce the fruit of Love with our children. Think about the moments you are hurrying through things with your kids. Your heart rate is up, you're irritable, you say things you regret, you raise your voice, or find yourself in moments that are lacking the ability to show love.
The truth is, HURRY & LOVE are Incompatible. Scripture tells us “Love is PATIENT and KIND.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 When we as parents can be intentional to eliminate hurry from our lives it will allow for Interruption, which leads to an Opportunity to LOVE, which leads to a healthy relationship with your kids! BUT, how do I eliminate hurry? You’re thinking there’s no way! John Mark Comer, author of Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, says, “ The problem isn’t when you have a lot to do; It’s when you have too much to do and the only way to keep the quota up is to hurry.”
Remove Hurry Words
When talking with your kids, remove words like “hurry up”. Quickly! We are going to be late! When our vocabulary is full of these words we are creating an internalized importance of hurry inside our kids. Instead we need to inspect our current routines and find the ways we can preempt the need to use these words. For me, it was getting up earlier and taking time in Silence & Solitude with God before anyone else was awake. I was filled with God’s peace and ready to take the morning on without a need to rush around like a chicken with my head cut off!
Cut out Extras from your Schedule
The first step is knowing your schedule. So take some time and write out what your typical day looks like. After this you’ll find there are several things that you can actually cut out so you can spend intentional time with your kids. Examples include; TV, social media, time online, video games, extra social obligations. This step can be difficult if you don’t have a clear vision and sense of your values to place time with your kids as a priority.
Turn your Smartphone into a Dumbphone
We have the power to turn those smartphones into dumbphones. You can actually shut off access to apps in your phone during important intentional times with your family. Or, choose to leave your phone in another room entirely.
We are under the assumption we can multitask to make life more efficient. What we do instead is create a habit of multitasking that we are unable to shut off when we spend time with our kids. We must lend our children our undivided intentional attention. When they speak we look at them and not our phone or the work we are in the middle of. When they draw, we draw with them. Whatever it is, do that and only that.