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Seize the Moment
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Did you spend some time with our son today?” my wife asked me one evening before we drifted off to sleep. “No”, I mumbled. “I want to but it seems like there’s just too much going on. I know it’s important. Somehow I’ve got to find the time. I’ll work on it tomorrow.”

How do we husbands and fathers “find” time for family? We obviously cannot change our 24-hour day into 26 hours. It’s easy to become so busy doing necessary things and juggling dozens of goals on check lists that we’re bound to let opportunities slip through our fingers. One reason this happens is that we fail to notice times and places we might have acted.

How can we raise our awareness of opportunities to spend time with family? The key is learning to seize the moment. That means we decide in advance when and where we will act. The more specific we are, the greater the chance our brains will see and seize the moment. Instead of saying, “I need to spend more time with my son,” I now say, “I will spend 30 minutes with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work and before supper time.” This kind of planning helps the mind catch the goal when the time comes past.

Planning to Act

Horace coined the Latin phrase, Carpe diem, which is translated as “seize the day.” His original phrase was longer: “Seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the future.” He understood how “tomorrow” often never comes. Putting off goals isn’t necessarily strategic planning; it can simply be avoidance and irresponsibility. Seizing the day means weighing out goals and planning to act.

The Bible says, “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). People who seize the moment (or the day) count what is truly important. Thinking ahead increases awareness. The mind is wiser when it prioritizes the checklists we make. We cannot put family first if we do not number what is first, what is second, and what is third.

As I lay in bed thinking about my wife’s question, I realized that having a longer day would not solve my “family time” problem. Did I really have so much going on that I couldn’t spend any time with our son? Did I not even have five or 10 minutes to chat with him or throw a football for a few minutes in the back yard? It’s time for more of us fathers to learn to seize the moment and not wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow will never come.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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