Parenting tweens is often similar to those time-management games on the internet – start one load of laundry, begin dinner cooking, send spouse to the store, don’t forget to move the laundry to the dryer, put away clean dishes, pick up tween from activity one, move tween to activity two, don’t forget to tend to the dinner, answer call from spouse regarding items to get at store, start next laundry load, retrieve tween from activity two, spouse arrives home, complete cooking dinner, put dishes in dishwasher, usher tween to bed, finish final load of laundry – round 1 COMPLETED! You get a GOLD STAR! Next round…
But ask the parents of Columbine, Newton, or any other place or tragedy when the time we thought we had was suddenly and unexpectedly cut short – time is all we have.
Does that mean we should drop everything and just sit together? No – but it does mean that for some of us, we can seek the inspiration of time limits to help decide what is truly important. For some people that may mean buying that RV and homeschooling their kids on the road of life. For others that may mean saving up for that big Disneyland trip – even if it will cause a little short-term debt. For many of us, it means doing exactly what we do every day – we work for a living, parent our kids, clean our homes, and LOVE all of our friends and family the best we can.
Time being what it is for us mere mortals = limited, also doesn’t mean only short-term planning. It means planning some investments in the short-term, with long-range goals in mind. It can mean spending less money now and watching older movies rather than expensive first runs with our loved ones – tweens will still watch, but throw in some homemade popcorn if incentive is needed. And then spending a little time on our careers to get us into our futures – wherein hopefully the investments we made can pay off in retirement and grandchildren.
It may mean telling our tweens – YOU are important to me and I want to spend some time with you. It may not be wise to monopolize our tweenagers’ time as their friends and social lives gain greater importance, but it is wise to remind them – people, including our parents and families are priorities as well.
As “The Hobbit” movie brings back the legendary wisdom of Gandalf, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us…” and parenting our tweens is no different. Spend a little extra time with your tween today – not too much, but just a little more than usual – to remind them that they are special and our time together, however long it may be, is special too. Happy parenting and happy parents!