Nasa’s countdown gets exciting at T-10 seconds. The musical Rent has an anthem about 525, 600 minutes. How we measure time matters. How we spend time matters even more.
In parenting, it’s the first 600 seconds that count. These 10 minutes in the morning matter most in the day.
Take a second to think about it—how do you start? How does your day with your child begin?
Is it slow, quiet, warm, and cozy? Do you spend time looking at your child, seeing your child, snuggling with them? Do they get the message that they are Most Important?
Or does your morning start like mine?
Where the first ten minutes aren’t always spectacular. Or calm. They often involve me marching into a bedroom, coffee in one hand and phone in the other. I’m turning on lights, raising curtains, and far too loudly and cheerfully announcing it is Time to Get Up. It’s a bull-in-the-china-shop-mary-poppins mash-up, where the message is pretty clear that they are just one more item on my check list. Because once I am reasonably sure they are awake? I’m out the door and on to the next part of the morning.
But what if we did it differently? What if we walked in not with the focus of up and at ‘em, but to connect with them.
Maybe we don’t even need the first 600 seconds. That’s an awfully long time. Maybe we only need 60. Or 57. I’ve done the research, I’ve practiced the results. It takes 57 seconds to sing (in my head) You Are My Sunshine.
No. I am not saying you have to sing your child awake. Not at all. But what if you hum the tune in your head as your timer? What if your focus for those 57 seconds was the fact that they are your Sunshine? That they do make you happy when skies are forecast for 106 degrees or even grey.
What if we started our day with our children saying You Matter Most of All? What if we walked in and began with a knock-knock joke? Or tickled their belly? Or played their most absolute favorite song? (See, you can still have your phone in your hand.)
Then we can rush. Then we can hustle. Then we can allow the rest of life’s schedule to swallow us up.
But not at first. Not at the beginning. Not for 57 seconds.
So this morning, tomorrow morning, definitely the first-day-back-to-school morning, as you turn the door knob, know the reason. Know how you want to walk in. Know how you want to spend those 57 seconds. Know how you want to say I Love You.
And the rest of the day? keep humming.
p.s. want to (re)read Summer of Love?
Here’s the choose-your-own adventure of week 1.
And the joy of week 2.
Should you read week 3? I think you should. 😉
And check out what’s left Unsaid in week 4.
As for week 5? It was hot and sticky and sweaty and time to say “will you paddle for me?”