Living Columns & Blogs

Fathering: Savor the limited days with your children

With two of my three kids out of high school — and one about to start — the phrase, “They grow up so fast” really resonates with me. Given how quickly your children develop from newborns to teenagers and beyond, consider spending time with your children, with intentionality, so you can savor the limited days you may have with them. Here’s one suggestion, adapted from a random email that was circulating, to help remind yourself to act now. Think about making this marble activity, as well as spending more time with your child, part of your New Year’s resolutions.


▪ Think about a milestone date when your child will reach a certain age, like when she becomes a teenager, or graduates high school, or some other marker signifying she won’t be as available to spend time with you. Calculate how many weekends are left until this date. Do this calculation for each of your children.

▪ Buy a bag of marbles. Find a clear container(s) and put it in a spot that you will see it regularly. Fill it with the same number of marbles as the number of weekends you have calculated above. Initially, you should have one marble representing each weekend until the selected date(s).

▪ Each week throw away one marble from each of your children’s containers. You must throw away the marble to remind yourself that the time is gone forever. This process should help you to refocus on your priorities, and to plan accordingly.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation among fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at, Robert Orndorff at, Mick Trombley at, Chris Dufour at, Mark Oleynik at, Doug Loviscky at, or Marc McCann at