“Savor this time, because the next thing you know, he’ll be all grown up.” I can’t count the number of times older parents have offered my wife and me this advice for raising our two little boys. We heard it so often when our oldest, Brayden, was an infant that the conversations became laughably predictable.
A total stranger (usually a grandmother, dragging her reluctant husband) would walk by our table at a restaurant, peer into Brayden’s car seat, ooh and aah over him, and, after asking how old he was, present her well-worn pearl of wisdom. As Brayden grew older, the interaction differed slightly—he’d initiate a game of peekaboo with a couple sitting across the room, or a grandpa would stop to ask him about his toy—but the advice was always the same: Savor this time.
With a recent addition to our family, my wife and I are once again hearing this sentiment—and taking it to heart. I savor my waffle breakfasts with Brayden each morning and our bedtime conversations about everything from angels to Buzz Lightyear to life as a “big boy.” And I am certainly savoring the toothless smiles of my youngest, Xander, that melt every worry away.
I’m obviously not the first parent to cherish the everyday moments of raising children. You also don’t need kids to relate to this message; it applies to anyone at any stage of life. But if savoring the now is so universally applicable and vital that strangers feel compelled to remind young parents of its truth, then why is something this weighty so often forgotten?
In part, it’s because our culture has conditioned us to look ahead in virtually every facet of life. When an athlete or team wins a championship now, they’re immediately grilled on how they’ll repeat the next season. When we enjoy a movie, we’re often left wondering if—or more often than not, when—there will be a sequel. Whether it’s entertainment or experiences, version 1.0 apparently isn’t enough anymore; there’s always a bigger, better, faster or more amazing upgrade waiting just around the corner. The result? We’re losing the art of appreciating today for what it is, with nothing else in the frame.
As stewards of what God gives us, we are to plan for the future. Only fools fail to look ahead. Yet even Jesus warned us to not worry about tomorrow at the expense of seeing God’s kingdom today (see Luke 12:22-33). I want to live accordingly when it comes to seeing that kingdom in my family, work and the daily details of life. I want to savor the kingdom today.
As another school year starts and many families return to the routine of everyday living, I challenge you with the same reminder given to my wife and me: Savor this time. God’s kingdom is found today, often in the “smallest” of things (or in our case, people). Don’t overlook it as you wait for something bigger tomorrow.
CONTRIBUTING TO THIS ISSUE ...
Journalist Amy Green‘s stories have appeared in People, Newsweek, The New York Times and many other publications. She once dreamed of becoming an astronaut but decided on writing as a means of changing people’s minds.
Dubbed by Time magazine as one of the most influential evangelical leaders today, Bible teacher Joyce Meyer has written 80-plus books and can be seen and heard daily around the world on her TV and radio program, Enjoying Everyday Life.
Julian Lukins is a writer based in Sequim, Wash. In 1995, he spent a year volunteering with YWAM, which was enough to prove to him that YWAMers practice what they preach when it comes to living out a “radical faith.”
Sarah Stegall is a freelance journalist, skilled Twitter user and tennis fanatic. Since writing her story on new-tech school tools (p. 46), the recent college grad can often be found at the Apple store drooling over the iPhone 4 and iPad.