Sunday, March 01, 2009

Making Time Is Not Wasting Time

I've been invited to contribute to Dad-o-Matic. I'm very excited about this and hope to eek out a regular schedule over there. You can find my first post here, or read it below. Let me know what you think.


Sunday is traditionally the day of rest, but it’s usually spent catching up on all those projects we promised to get to over the weekend. The kids can’t stay up late, so there’s a tighter Sunday night bedtime for most folks, and you can’t stay up late because you probably have work to get to in the morning. That’s why Sunday afternoons are usually a blur for me. As they say, so much to do, so little time. Throw church into your Sunday morning or a game later in the day and you have the fixings for a hectic day of “rest”.

Today was a Sunday like any other. My wife was taking a nap. I was running around working on a todo list filled with family photos & videos waiting to be edited, organized, and put up on the family website for eager relatives back East. We were down one daughter because she was en route from a Irish Dance competition in New Mexico, and the sixteen & ten year old were working on the chores they should have finished on Saturday. That left only the seven year old.

She was bored, wild, and getting into mischief — one reason I call her the Brownie. I usually would bellow at her to settle down, but something was different today. I overheard her misreading a sign earlier and had her learning disabilities on my mind. Uncharacteristically, I climbed into the disaster area she calls a bedroom and dug out a book for her to read. Then I invited her to sit down on the couch with me and read it out loud.

Like most kids her age, she had memorized the book and recited the text from each page as she confidently flipped through the story. I made her go back and start working out the words for herself. She was frustrated at first; she doesn’t like to confront difficult tasks that make her mind work. However, with words of encouragement and a positive tone in my voice, the frustration she experienced was transformed into a grin of accomplishment as she began to read for herself.

This was time well spent, and perhaps the start of something new to do each Sunday instead of hustling around. Despite all the things I had to do today, I can’t think of a more important item to check off than to spend time with this little girl.

Douglas Cootey is a married, full time dad raising four girls in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah who has long ago overcome his aversion to the color Pink. Douglas blogs about overcoming AD/HD & Depression with humor & pluck over at the award winning A Splintered Mind.  He also co-produces a podcast with his 17 year old daughter. The random thoughts of his addled mind can be found at DouglasCootey and SplinteredMind over on Twitter.

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