Do You Have Time For Children?

Community Personal Development Relationships What Your Father Should Have Taught You

The most important thing any of us do in life will, most likely, be raising the next generation. Yet our society seems to make it an afterthought. So many give up the love and delight of children for something as banal as a pay check or a name plate on their door. Only to find out when they get older tt thahere was a reason people had kids when young and their aging bodies may not be so amenable.

This is another installment in What Your Father Should Have Taught You, although it is more about “How” than what.

My Dad never sat me down and said, “OK, Daniel. Now I am going to teach you what it means to be a man.” If he had I may have tuned out – like most kids. Instead, my Dad sat with me and we watched movies, we took walks, we talked as we re-shingled the roof of the cabin, poured concrete, put the boat in the lake, pumped and cleaned outhouses, mowed on the Ford and John Deere tractors (OK we talked in the breaks), went out for lunch, shoveled the driveway, fed the rabbits, or spread rabbit manure throughout the garden (really great fertilizer by the way – awesome. And, did you know that a male and female rabbit, in one year, can produce as much meat as male and female cattle and for less money? I learned that from my Dad too. Rabbits, after all, are popping out 8-12 little furballs every month and in about a month they each start popping out more.) Whatever, we did whether working, on the lake, driving, or taking a walk through the woods my Dad and I would talk. In those times, and by his example, he taught me the things that your father should have taught you, and we need to pass these on to our kids and grandkids. The most important lessons come from family not from school.

From the story of Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley et al, I learned that she spent one day a week with each of her children. They each had their own day, and Susannah would teach them to read, write, cypher,* and about literature. They would read and discuss the Bible and the Greaco-Roman classics and the great English Classics, like Shakespeare, and others, and then discuss what they learned in greater depth and understanding. I always thought that was an ideal way to raise kids although I never quite managed it. What I did do however is take a different child with me every time I ran an errand. “I’m going to go get pizza for dinner (30-minute drive to the next town to get Casey’s). I need one helper.” I didn’t need a helper. But it gave me 30 minutes in the car where one of my kids had all of my attention. I could find out what they were reading, and what games they were playing, or we could talk about other things. If we ran into silence on the way back I would turn on the radio. If they said something interesting I would shut the news off. When I asked my youngest son, “What was wrong with that news broadcast?” And he said, “They didn’t tell us what happened. They told us what to think about what happened. By their use of adjectives, they told us how we should think…they weren’t passing on news it was indoctrination.” Then, I knew that he could find his own way.

Another thing I did was take my kids to the park each day. And I didn’t just take them and sit on the bench and read. We started by spending a few minutes picking up trash to clean up the area we were going to play in. Because it is everyone’s responsibility. Then we played. We played tag. They like playing “Monster” where I would stagger around after them and growl and they would run away screaming. They really liked that one. The little tykes seemed to like making me crawl through those concrete tunnels after them. Also, I would help them in the “confidence course” stand to catch them if they fell so they would have the confidence to climb higher than they had the time before. As soon as I got home from work or school I would take time for kids before I ran out of energy. I knew from child psychology if you gave kids a few minutes every night when you first got home they would feel reconnected and run off and play but that those few minutes were vitally important from a psychological standpoint. I learned that from school, not by directly from Dad but when they said that I remembered how when Dad came home from work he often sat on the porch and when I was in pre-school I remember crawling all over him like he was a jungle gym. And we would go sledding in the winter as a family both when I was a kid and when I had a family of my own.

The point is that families grow together by being together. One of the saddest things I ever heard was a little girl in the housing area I lived in my oldest son, then my only son, crawled all over me and giggled when I flipped him over my shoulder and set him in front of me. This little girl whispered to her friend, “I wish my Dad would play with me like that.” I would have loved to let her use me as a jungle gym too but things were already paranoid about not touching and other things designed to break the human connections that were normal when I was growing up. Considering we are physical animals and how important touch is vital to healthy psychological development the people who have designed our society’s current rules are either exceptionally stupid or evil.

When you add the failure of government schools to the failure of families it is worrying. Even as a pastor we were told “Don’t touch the parishioners or they might sue!” While at the same time in pastoral care classes we were told how important touch is to healing and child development. So nowadays, we not only can’t touch, we mask our kids and make them stand six feet apart. And now we find out none of it was necessary.


However, these problems are not entirely new. Even in the 70s (when I was in school,), I was seeing reports where they used microphones on children to see how long their parents interacted with them daily. The discounted things like “Set the table. Take out the garbage.” What they were looking for was parents interacting with children as if they were real people, and vice versa. The average was only 5 minutes! I cannot imagine that. My Dad spent more time that that talking to me just walking from the cabin to the outhouse. No wonder our society is wonky because people don’t know how to be parents anymore and children grow up feeling they are unimportant complications – or perfect little angels who get participation trophies.

I remember Stacy Abrams, candidate for governor of Georgia, saying “If you are poor it’s because you chose to have kids.” Is that what the leftists are pushing now? Children are a liability? A nuisance? And we are stupid for having them? This is a much more monstrous tyranny developing than Jefferson, Adams, and John Hancock ever faced. My God that is a deadly message to give to parents and kids. What of children that hear that? What if parents believe it? She would be an accessory to abuse (at best,) and murder at worst. This is the rich leftist society that is trying to take control it hates families because families are the building block of society and they cannot control people completely if they come from real families and have the support of their family This is why I am always grieved when I meet people who came from toxic families and have always tried to make room for them, (if they wanted,) in mine.

I am beginning to think that in some areas of the country there may not even be families anymore. At least not how I experienced them. If that’s true if people really only interact with their kids on a meaningful level for five minutes a day our society is doomed and entire generations are going to be neurotic, anti-social, misfits, who cry at the first obstacle. We are in trouble and better start paying more attention to good men like Jordan Peterson and others who know what is what. I don’t understand not wanting to spend time with your kids – or being unwilling to take time out for them.

I have one friend who has always been exceptional about this. From dying Easter Eggs, Carving Pumpkins for Halloween, or organizing other activities for the children in her family and for those of her friends she consistently presented an image of interaction and play with her kids that we can all learn from. Too often, we have made our lives so busy there just isn’t the time left over to live.

This might be why my folks never allowed TV, phones, or computers at our cabin. That is family time. Time to take a break from the “rat race” they would say. How can you take a break if you bring all that stuff with you? Those times at the lake, walking in the woods, swimming, water-skiing, boat rides, building sand forts, playing, and chasing toads were the best times of my childhood. And every night, after the family boat ride, my Dad and Mom would take a second turn about the lake, just the two of them to spend time together. “If we don’t take care of our marriage how can we take care of you kids.” I heard them say more than once.

We raised rabbits when I was young and because rabbits breed like…well, rabbits. We often would have to make new cages on Sunday or Saturday afternoons. Working together my Dad and I could make one excellent rabbit cage. It was my Dad’s design and to this day they are the best rabbit hutches I have ever seen anywhere. Easy to clean, warm in the winter, and plenty of room for them to jump. One day I really didn’t want to build cages I wanted to go play with my friends. My Dad let me go and I got back to see how he had done in the rabbit cage without my help. Riding my bike the few miles home from my friends I started to feel guilty that he had to do it all himself. I pulled up in the driveway and saw him putting the finishing touches on the 3 rabbit hutches he had made. OK, with my help Dad can make one cage in an afternoon. When I am out of the way he makes three. (That was my first thought.) As I thought about it more I realized this is what God is like. God doesn’t need our help to do what S/HE/IT wants to do. The Divine Presence wants to do it with us because it loves us and enjoys interacting with us. I feel sorry for people who think God is just some watchmaker who sits back and watches everything because it means they have never had a spiritual experience coming into direct contact with the Great Mystery. Maybe that is why they are as they are. Just as my Dad wanted to spend time with me building something new, the Divine Presence wants to work with us for the repair of the world. To build it with me, because he loved being with me.

You don’t just make it for them, you don’t just make money to feed them. Your time is important. Teach them how to live and how to work. But too many don’t seem to know how to live anymore. That’s what I learned from my Dad. How to work and how to live.

Like so much in today’s society things can be superficial and lack substance. Some families do all the right things, race about taking their kids from event to event (teaching them to be workaholics rather than how to be a family,) and check all the “proper” boxes and do all the “right” things but they don’t really “live” together. They bunk in the same house.

Maybe this is why so many kids today seem to be emotionally weak. They can’t endure even slight hardship. I remember my son calling me when he was home on leave from Iraq “Dad, I can’t take my former friends anymore! I’ve had my friends killed right next to me and they think it’s the end of the world because their fries are cold.” “They’ve never known real adversity son. You want to come over for the weekend and we can talk?” “Yeah, Dad that would be great. I tried talking to Mom and she freaked.” Civilians have no frame of reference, their worst day is often nothing by comparison.

Too often today I see parents who seem to be treating their kids as a nuisance or a burden. Never do they have time to play with them or give time to what the kids like. I do not understand that. I wish I had had 12 kids. I know how much I love the ones I have and I just think if there were more they would be even more wonderful. Kids are an unmitigated joy and my favorite days are when I can spend the day with one or all of my kids. There is NOTHING better than being in the company of my children unless it is being with them and their families and I would not trade those memories of playing with them at the park or in the pool for anything.

  • OK, if you haven’t followed my advice about getting a dictionary older than 1960 and using it I need to explain this word. Online dictionaries are changing and they assume you are too dumb to read anything as antiquated as books so they don’t give you old meanings like “cypher”. In most crappy online dictionaries you will be told this is a code or enigma. Yet in the 8th and 19th centuries, it meant figuring numbers…or what we call today: Mathematics. The swamp is changing the meanings of words to make us more controllable. I don’t think it’s a secret cabal, it’s just the way the manipulation is coming together on its own – to our society’s destruction.

2 thoughts on “Do You Have Time For Children?

  1. Great! So agree with you. So many parents say “can’t wait until summer is over so they can go back to school and out of my hair”. I LOVED having my kids around—still do. And my grandchildren! I can’t get enough time with them.

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