Cutting Out These Five Words Changed My Parenting


Cutting out these five words: “…for a couple of minutes.”

Child: Mommy will you play dolls with me?
Mom: For a couple of minutes.

Child: Mommy, will you lay with me?
Mom: Yeah, for a couple of minutes.

Child: Mommy, will you play hide and seek with me?
Mom: For a couple of minutes.

I found myself saying these 5 words more and more often “…for a couple of minutes.” (or similar words like “not right now, maybe later, for a minute or two”) I was busy, I was tired, I was being selfish and wanted to do what I wanted to do (browse pinterest?). I always pray that the Lord will connect my heart to my children’s heart. He was doing his part-their sweet little voices asking me to play with them was one way that would connect my heart to theirs. But then the Lord put it heavy on my heart that the way I was wording my response could potentially build up walls between us-the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I wanted.

Imagine this scenario:

Wife: Will you hold me?
Husband: Yeah, for a couple of minutes.

Wife: Could I show you something I worked on today?
Husband: Yeah, for a couple of minutes.

Wife: Want to read the Bible together?
Husband: For a couple of minutes.

I’d be thinking, “Well, never mind then!” If that was my husband’s reply every time I asked for TIME with him, I would start to feel like I’m annoying him, that he doesn’t want to spend time with me, that he’d rather be doing something else. It would build up walls between us over time.

What if when our children asked, we just said, “YES!” They don’t know the difference in time as much as they know the difference in “Well, sure, but I’d rather be doing something else” aka “for a few minutes.” I started just playing with them, laying with them, and coloring with them and if I only did it for 5 minutes, I kept that to myself. All they see is that I’m playing with them! That I said YES. Are there times we will need to let them know, “Yes, I can do that, but only for a few minutes because it’s almost bed time”? Yes, of course, but keeping that from being a standard response and the overall feeling has been such a wonderful change.

Today is a day God has ordained for you. The things that happen in it are not an interruption or an inconvenience, especially our children. It is our LIFE! We absolutely cannot do it in our own strength, but we CAN do it in the LORD’S STRENGTH. May he knit our hearts together more closely with the hearts of our children and help us remember that TIME is something we will all wish we had spent more of together in the end. Help us Lord to be present in the lives of everyone around us!


*I am honored to get to write for Raising Godly Children where this article was first published.

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