UNcommon Sense: In The Now
Last month my family celebrated my grandson Anthem’s first birthday. This past weekend we celebrated my son Chisholm’s thirtieth birthday. I couldn’t help but reflect on how my perspective had changed from the birth of my son in 1993 to my grandson’s birth in 2022. As a new dad, a big part of my focus was on my son getting on to the next phase. When he rolled over, I eagerly hoped for him to crawl. Not to be satisfied, once he had crawled I was pushing him to learn to walk. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I certainly found myself always in a forward focus.
Enter my first grandchild. Instantly, my focus was totally different. Sure, I had thoughts of him eventually being able to roll over and crawl but now I find myself just enjoying where he is now. New parents are always told by the older generation, “it goes fast, enjoy it why you can”. I had heard that as a new dad too. Now, I fully understand what they mean. It is easy to get caught up in what’s next and miss what’s now. The same thing happens during a school year.
The last day of school for students is right around the corner. For many parents, it likely seems like just a few days ago you were in the car line preparing to drop your student off for their very first day of school. Now many of those same students are getting to school on their own, participating in school activities, and some even about to graduate. These milestones are not only memorable but represent important developmental stages. The goal being each student grows into adulthood, prepared to be as self-sufficient as possible and ready for what life brings their way. One thing I have observed this year is many students and even parents doing what I did with my firstborn- always looking to the next stage. In some cases, this leads each to fast track their experiences in an effort to get to the next thing. While I can fully relate to that, a word of caution: what’s next isn’t always what you hope it to be. Also, experiencing things earlier and earlier in life that are really set up to be for later, doesn’t necessarily lead to good outcomes. I may can teach a three-year-old multiplication but that doesn’t guarantee the child will be a successful and happy adult.
As a grandparent, I get that now. I recognize how important it is for me to experience and appreciate the stage my grandson is at now. The tendencies I had as a father have softened. Of course, I have high hopes that he will be left-handed like me, love to run long distance races and 80s music. Sure, I still think about his future, but rather than residing in what will be, I have found more peace and enjoyment in what is now. We don’t have to wait until we’re a grandparent to learn this truth. If your child is in elementary, they will be in high school before you know it. If they are in high school, they will be married and working in the blink of an eye. Take it from me, one of the old people now, life with your children goes really fast. Enjoy it now while you can.
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