This blog post was written and submitted by Debbie, one of our Screen Sanity parents. It touches on on one of Screen Sanity’s five rules of thumb—time well-spent. The digital world wants you to keep scrolling, but at the end of your life, all you have is your time and attention. What will you say was your time well-spent?
We all know time matters. And as parents, we need to focus on how we spend that time. From the time our children are born until they graduate, we have approximately 936 weeks with them. In the book Playing for Keeps by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy and Liz Hansen, these precious weeks are illustrated with a jar filled of marbles—each marble representing one week. When my daughter was born, someone told me the “days are long, but the years are short.” I spent those early days and months looking into her eyes, talking to her and being in awe of how quickly she was changing, learning and growing.
But in a blink of an eye, she was starting school, losing baby teeth, joining a swim team and celebrating her ninth birthday. Suddenly, my 936 weeks were halfway through, with only 468 marbles left. Middle school introduced her to new levels of independence with group projects completed online, friendships forged in the world of Minecraft and her calendar being updated on her phone. Our time together was moving faster and faster, and I needed to “play for keeps” with the marbles I had left.
Suddenly, she was 16, walking to her car to drive to school and the jar of marbles in our foyer had only 104 marbles left. The marbles continued to dwindle as she went on four weeks of family vacations, crossed off the weeks to her Junior prom and planned for Senior theater shows. And just like that, the final marble, which represented graduation, was gone.
As parents, we constantly feel like we are losing our marbles. That is the ultimate design for raising healthy, independent children. However, we can focus our days and weeks on time well-spent—recognizing the sphere of influence we have when we play for keeps and the impact we have on our children while they are in our care.
For another impactful parent essay, check out Our Daughter’s Nightly Struggle, one of our most-shared blog posts.