I love my kids. Sometimes it just seems like I can’t get enough time with them. As they get older… or maybe I should say as I get older, the time just continues to slip away. I think that if I could spend 24 hours a day every day with them, it wouldn’t be enough. Somedays 5 minutes is more than I can take. As a dad with a full time job, ministry leadership roles, and parents to help care for, there is a lot of activity to fill a limited amount of time. It seems there is always one area of my life that is in dire need of some attention.
I hear a lot of talk about living a balanced life. I’m not exactly sure what that is. My life seems more like a juggling act. Balance is not having everything perfect and scheduling your week so everything has the right amount of time. It seems to me that a “balanced life” is simply being aware of what is going on in your life and paying attention to the needs of your family and yourself. It is impossible to “schedule” balance. When your life involves kids, wife, career, and elderly parents, there is a never ending list of things to do and places to be and the list is continually growing… often with last minute things that I was either not aware of or completely forgot about. Balance is paying attention and knowing where you are needed.
Not long ago it became apparent to me that I was in need of spending some time with my 6 year old. The fall had been very busy and I still had several unfinished projects. I took a day and had an “Owen day”. Whatever he wanted to do. It was very hard for me to not direct him to where I wanted to go. It was hard for me to drive past a store I needed to get something from. It was quite possibly one of the most difficult and challenging days I’ve had in awhile because there were things I “needed” to do and places I “needed” to go. Instead we…
1. Went to the park and played basketball and on the playground
2. Went to Guitar Center so he could play the drums
3. Ate lunch at McDonalds
4. Went back to the park
5. Went to another park
6. And eventually back home to play some more.
As difficult as that day was, it was also one of the most rewarding days. I doubt he will remember that day in five years, but I can tell you our relationship has been much better since then.
Sometimes I don’t always get it right. Sometimes I need my wife or someone else to tell me what I’m missing and where I need to be focused. Sometimes when you are juggling you drop a few balls. I think people who strive for “balance”, especially us dads with a full life, will be continually disappointed. A juggling act isn’t bad as long as you pick up the balls you drop and keep going. It keeps you sharp as you have to be aware of where each ball is and it can become quite entertaining and even comical at times. All things that lead to a very fun, full, and happy life.
So… happy juggling.