What I Learned From My 3 Year Old

Every day I usually wake up to the sound of tiny feet running down the hallway. These tiny feet make their way to me and I’m greeted with, “Mom! Wake Up!” Ah yes, the joys of having a 3yr old. I wouldn’t change anything though. I love being a mom to the two best kids in the world. I am blessed. Really. I am. They have their moments – I have my moments – but I wouldn’t change a thing, other than having less of my moments…

Too often we get caught up in our days and we miss the little things that happen. I am a huge advocate for technology, huge, but when something is taken to an extreme, danger is often just around the corner. I have to confess, I usually have my phone with me. I like my phone – it is way more than just a phone. I do quite a bit of my work via my phone, which in my opinion is one of the greatest things about the advancement of technology.  However, there are days and moments when I need to be reminded to put it down. Life has been incredibly busy lately, and I have been busy with work and other projects. My attention is not always where it needs to be. My focus is not always on what is most important in my life. Today I needed to be reminded to put down my phone and pay attention.

After dealing with a few things and having a conversation via text message, I walked into the living room to find my 5 yr old watching a movie, and my 3 yr old playing with her baby doll. Seeing as hey were happily occupied, I began to work on something else. While waiting for an message reply, my daughter comes up to me, or rather bounces over to me, and with these excited eyes says, “mommy, will you have a sleepover with me?” I look up and she had her blanket all set up, a pillow for both of us, and her baby doll who was already sleeping. I stopped. Just completely stopped what I was doing and said, “Why Sure, Thank You for Inviting me.”

I put my phone down and asked her where she wanted me. She cleared a spot just for me and I laid down on the blanket. She was so excited. She grabbed her pillow, placed it next to mine, and laid down right beside me with her baby doll in tow. This didn’t last for long – she’s 3 and her attention span is all of about 10 minutes. But this was 10 minutes I will remember. I did pull out my phone, but it was to take a picture of there three of us (me, her and the sleeping baby doll). The look on her face was priceless – she was filled with so much joy. I laid on the floor talking with her, listening to the conversation she had with her baby doll and all I could do was smile.  I will never get that moment back. There hopefully will be plenty more, but had I said “no, not right now” I would have missed out on seeing the joy in her eyes, because I would have sacrificed the necessary for the unnecessary.

James 4:14 says: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” 

Life is short and there is no guarantee about tomorrow. When we sacrifice the important for the unnecessary we cause those moments in life to vanish almost instantly. 

I am glad I did not sacrifice the living room floor sleepover for the work that needed to be done. I would have forgotten the work by now – I will not forget the moments spent with my daughter.

So how can we prevent the sacrificing of the necessary for the unnecessary? 

Here are a few thoughts: 

1. Realize that what you have is a Blessing – don’t waste your blessing on something that does not add to your life. Don’t waste a time on the unnecessary.

2. Put it down, and Play it Up. The email can wait, the tweet won’t fly away and that Facebook post doesn’t really need to be sent immediately. Put it down, and Play it up. When we put things down, we are free to play – free to use our hands to throw a ball, play tickle monster, push a swing or lay down for an afternoon sleepover on the floor. Put it down, and Play it up.

3. Stop. Simple as that. Stop. We move at warp-speed most of the day. When we do this we over look things, we miss crucial moments and end up sacrificing the necessary and important things in life for everything else that is unnecessary and can wait.

4. Go Home, On Time. At the end of our lives no one ever wishes they had worked longer. No one ever wishes they could have sent one more text, tweet, email. No one ever wishes they could have watched the finale of the Bachelorette. They wished for more time to spend with those they love and care for. When we are productive throughout the day, we can go home, on time. When we go home on time, we spend more time with those we love. The more time we spend with those we love, the better those relationships will be. The better the relationships, the less likely we are to be tempted to sacrifice the necessary for the unnecessary.

5. Pay Attention. Pay attention to everything you can. When we pay attention we are attune to what happens around us. When we pay attention we don’t miss the little things. We don’t miss the crucial moments of life. My kids love the song “Children of Light” and the opening words are Wake up! Open your eyes. No longer Dead. We are Alive.  If we want to make sure we are living this life and not letting the necessary vanish from our sight, we need to wake up and open our eyes and pay attention to the life around us. Who knows, when we pay attention we might just catch a glimpse of the Joy of Heaven found in the eyes of a 3 yr old.

Now, will I get rid of my phone? No. Will I stop working from my Phone? No. Will I completely abandon all forms of social media? No.  If used in a healthy manner, there is a lot of good that comes from these things. However, after today I may put it down more so I can focus on what is necessary in life – it will be a challenge – I guarantee it. But, it’s something well worth the challenge.

Our lives are but a mist – Yesterday is Gone. Tomorrow is not Certain. All we have is Today. Don’t sacrifice the necessary and important for the unnecessary.

About the author : Meghan Howard

Called to be an authentic disciple for Jesus – who reminds people they are beautiful and sacred because God created them that way.

Wife. Mom. Pastor. Doctor of Ministry in Evangelism via Digital and Social Media. Musician. Cycling Instructor. Athlete.

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