Slow Down Childhood…By Slowing Down

By: Amy Dalke


One minute I was folding socks, and the next minute I was crying because I realized Luke will be in high school in 5 years. 

My mind raced to all the time I’ve taken for granted, all the years that have passed, all the moments gone by that I can’t get back.

And don’t even get me started on the encroaching 10th birthday. There’s something about his age being counted on two full hands that can send me over the emotional edge.

Third grade is over. And I’m not ready. 

I’m not ready for braces. I’m not ready for 4th grade, puberty, Driver’s Ed, or college.

Why can’t childhood just be forever?

I want to go back and really take to heart the words everyone tells a new mother: “Enjoy every minute, because it goes by so fast.”  But at the time these words were directed at me, I actually sort of hoped they would come true. Because I looked forward to JUST FIVE MINUTES ALONE.

Now that Luke is older, I wish I had stared into the face of each moment along the way.

I wonder if childhood would seem so fast if we really took it in while it’s happening? I wonder if time would still fly if we lived each day in the present, and held the moments as they happen instead of fretting over what comes next.

Rush here. Sign this. Clean that. Buy groceries. Plan. Hurry. Move. Go.

No wonder third grade goes by in a flash. Because maybe we were never truly there.

Could it be that we ache over the passing of childhood because we don’t experience it to the fullest in Real Life Time? 

You may have heard the phrase Practice Presence before. It basically means to be in the moment, instead of mentally chasing the what-if’s, and if-so’s, why-not’s of the future and the past.

To be candid, when this concept was first introduced to me two years ago, I thought it was the lamest thing I’d ever heard. Mostly because I envisioned a bunch of people in white robes sitting cross-legged and chanting mantras. And since I was way too fast-paced and trendy for that, I discounted it as a nice idea, but no thanks.

But grace.

Grace brought me to a place where my 99 mph tempo crashed into stillness with a resounding thud. And though I didn’t call it grace at the time, because hello, this was not what I signed up for…I began to see the value of going slow.

Over the last year, I’ve learned that constantly looking ahead and keeping a frantic pace to make it there on time sucks all the life out of RIGHT NOW. While I mentally arrange tomorrow’s agenda, I lose today one second at a time.

Isn’t all this plan-making and agenda-setting and worry-thinking just my way of making sure I’ll be okay tomorrow? But maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be okay without me.

But today won’t. Today begs to be explored. Even, enjoyed.

Practice Presence

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” Matthew 6:34 TLB

Today is where the memories are made. But if we rush through these 24 hours, we’re left with blurred images and undeveloped pictures of the moments we didn’t really see.
We try so hard to get ahead, to fix what’s broken, to solve all the problems, and make all the lunches, that today gets lost in the clutter. Because all the plans and schemes we create to control tomorrow will change because {spoiler alert} we don’t have control after all.

Enjoy every minute, because it goes by so fast.” Childhood is worth noticing…it is worth the enjoying. Your own life also begs to be discovered in the wonder of the present. Any way you spin it, there is nothing up ahead that is more valuable than Right Now.

Whether your children are 2 or 10 or 34, there is still life to be redeemed; and it’s not too late to start practicing presence.

For the next 24 hours, I encourage you to notice life in the Right Now. 

Pay attention to your children. (Not the instructive, correcting kind…but the “I like to be with you” kind.

Be aware of your thoughts: are you spending time in tomorrow, and missing the joy in today?