It is summer. The season so many of us yearn for throughout the dreary and occasionally bitter days of winter. Finally, school is out and there is time to do everything. Days into it the weather is not “summery” and “everything” has been replaced with “there is nothing to do.” Left alone, my beautiful, creative, intelligent, resourceful children will spend roughly 25 hours in a day watching some type of screen. Being patient and experienced parents, Rachel and I will then grow a shorter and shorter fuse with them.
“BACK IN MY DAY” we so proudly exclaim (as if we had access to the screens of today we would have been any different). We give ideas for them to roll their eyes to in response. We encourage them to do other things and watch them obediently engage in said activities…for minutes at a time. We do things as a family and are promptly asked, “What are we doing next?” or even during, “What are we doing after and then again tomorrow?”
Believe me, I’m not complaining…yes I am, but that’s not my point. My point is that transitions are difficult. Not just literal season to season but in figurative season of life. Going from one job to another (or none at all), going into and out of school, coaching or playing a sport and having the season begin or end, activities coming and going, significant ministry or life events that suddenly are over, getting into a relationship and out of them, having a baby, raising a baby/toddler/child/teen/full grown but not acting like it adult/etc, empty nest, returning child refilling said empty nest, retirement, aging, sicknesses, death of a loved one, and so many more.
What gets you through your transitions in life? Even as I type this I’m not sure what my historical answer is for me? Granted, the greatest transition of my life (the Trey days) my answer would be grit/determination/and faith (not sure the order of them for sure). However, for the rest of the major transitions I’m not real sure. Thinking about our present transition I’m committing to our foundation of love.
I will not allow these temporary frustrations to cause me to act in such a way that is inconsistent with my teachings of loving my family. I will not let my kids feel alone (far different from being alone physically, I’m talking about emotionally alone). Conversely, I will love them by not allowing them to sit, rot, and fester into a mind numbing nothingness. I will make sure that Rachel and I stay strong and unified in our approach to the kids. Yes, I realize that it would be great to have to be worrying about 3 idle kids and to not fritter away precious days with the 2 that are still on this earth and in our house. However, I will also make sure that the kids are independent and able to survive (or at least spend 20 minutes in a row) on their own.
For me, faith is at the center of sure. God has promised me that He has plans for me to prosper and not to harm me. God has proved to me that no matter the situation that things will be ok (not always optimal, but ok). Beyond that though, I am banking on love. If my motivation in my actions and through all transitions is altruistic love, then I believe we will be best suited to survive said transition. If my motivation is self preservation and selfishness in general then I can only expect greater frustration and turmoil.
As for screens, Rachel and I are working on it (with the rest of the world). Limiting the total hours per day, having screen free days, my sister even offered to pay for some screen free days, tracking their total hours and breaking down each activity individually so that they can see where their time goes. We’re on it and will most likely woefully fail. However, we will do it all with love for all involved.
Indeed, what gets you through your transitions in life?