Past ~ Present ~ Future. Children Shouldn’t Be in a Hurry to Grow Up!

Advice from a father: To my kids I would say - Enjoy the anticipation (of the future) & make good decisions today - ones that you can be proud of as they fade into your past.

When Melani and I were about to get married – we picked out some wedding bands together.  Being frugal and practical as I am – we went to Sams Club to buy the rings. We got a plain platinum one for Melani to match the beautiful engagement ring that I bought her.  What caught my eye for my ring – was a titanium ring that was surprisingly light and had three modest diamonds on it.

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about those diamonds – and what they might represent.  

Before we had kids – I came to the conclusion that they would represent the past, present & future for me.  I wanted to make sure I was living my life in the present, but in a manner that would provide a solid foundation for my future, and in such a way that when I looked back in the rear-view mirror that I would be proud of my past.  I can’t say that I have always accomplished that – but that has been, and remains, my goal.

The World Today

In this world it always seems as if kids are being pushed along by somebody to accelerate things in their lives. Do this now, buy this now, start wearing makeup, take AP classes, start driving, start dating, start smoking, start having sex, get a job, get a cell phone, start drinking…  Kids are bombarded with these messages on a daily basis in our culture, through the media, and by their peers.

It seems to me that the virtues of patience and delayed gratification have been vilified, which is really unfortunate.

~ Enjoy the anticipation (of the future) & make good decisions today

– ones that you can be proud of as they fade into your past. ~


– Chip Williamson –

It also seems to me that most of the time when someone is pushing our children to accelerate things and / or not delay gratification – it is because they have a vested interest in them doing something.

Life Lessons

Does accelerating things, or immediately satisfying our every desire end up making us any happier in the long run?  I’m not so sure it does. The news is littered with stories chronicling how the lives of our favorite child stars (Disney stars, in particular) have spiraled out of control and unraveled as they have approached adulthood.  Many of these child stars amass significant wealth at a very young age – and I am sure it is difficult to get them, and those around them, to exercise self- restraint. But getting everything we want, when we want it – is not always a good thing.  

The people I see around me that seem to be the happiest have learned that there is a pace to life and a balance that needs to be struck between the present and the future.  Speed through life’s milestones too fast – and you just may find yourself bored and / or burned out. Life is meant to be savored and enjoyed at each stage like a drive through the countryside or reading a book – it is not a sprint!  Enjoy the journey – don’t skip chapters and rush to the end of the book!

But on the flip side, live only in the moment – and we may not be making any provisions for our future….

I think it is human nature to look to the future with anticipation.  And anticipation is what keeps us engaged, and eager for tomorrow. If we have everything we want now – what is there to look forward to?  Oh, and MOST of us live with economic & financial limitations as a reality – so we probably can’t even ever have everything we want!

Realistically we are always going to be wanting something – so we should face that fact and get accustomed to it.  If we finally do get something that we have wanted for awhile – we are probably then just going to move on to wanting the NEXT thing.  So why not just resolve ourselves to always having, at some level, this anticipation or desire to have something that we don’t yet have?   And don’t forget – quite often it is the anticipation that is the best part of getting something or achieving a milestone…. so learn to enjoy it!

Annie striking a balance!

Conclusion

Life is a balancing act – where we should live in the present – but still be able to look forward to tomorrow.  That is not always easy to accomplish. Sometimes we tend to focus too much on one or the other. We may be so eager for some milestone to be crossed or to be able to purchase or do something – that we forget to live in the moment and enjoy what we already have.  Conversely, We may be so focused on just the present – that we fail to lay a foundation for our future to blossom.

My kids span the ages of 2 – 10 years old – and my advice to them would be to remain kids for as long as they can.  They will have the rest of their lives to be adults – and do adult things. Why rush this special, fleeting and innocent time in their life??  

Parents often talk fondly about re-living their childhood, vicariously, through their children for a reason – because it was an uncomplicated and enjoyable part of their lives!  So don’t be in a hurry to have it over!

Enjoy your childhood in the present – while you look forward to the future as an adult. Enjoy the anticipation and make good decisions today – ones that you can be proud of as they fade into your past.

Sincerely,

Chip


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Chip
Blessed father of 4 wonderful children & trophy husband to 1 lovely wife. Part-time blogger, full-time nerd & aspiring Renaissance man!
Articles: 180

8 Comments

  1. I truly believe it is good for children to be children for as long as possible. The joys of childhood can only be remembered into adulthood.

    It is good to support children as they grow and encourage them as they delve into new ventures but let them stay children until they are ready to move into the next phase of life.

    I enjoy peeks into your life, through images and words, for both are realistic and honest.

  2. I tell my kids to remain kids as long as they can too. “The time you are a kid lasts a lot less than you’ll be an adult where the worries are endless.” Thanks for sharing the intimacy of the message you share with your kids on a daily basis.

  3. Great post! I think we’ve become too reliant on instant gratification of late and it’s causing real problems socially and so on… Delayed gratification is much more valuable. I try to practice as much as I can but in our society it sure can be challenging!

  4. So many words of wisdom here. Due with my second child any day now my pace of life has slower a lot mainly due to physical restraints but man have I enjoyed some precious time with my 17 month old

  5. As children, we can’t wait to be adults. Now as an adult, I just want to go back and live my childhood, slow and steady. I know how many times I tell my daughter to take it slow, she will always anticipate getting older. I just hope she loves herself to follow her own influences, and not those of others. Thank you for sharing such a great, enlightening post.

All constructive comments are welcome!

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