Related from Og Mandino’s book The Choice (taken from Brad DeHaven’s book The Currency of the Future):
It was the story of Mark Christopher, the youngest vice-president of his company, who was responsible for eighty-four branch offices throughoutNew Englandand the sales production of more than seven hundred salespeople. While providing a great lifestyle for his family, he spent his time traveling, working long hours, and teaching a class at a University. He had been nicknamed “Mr. Success.” Mark was up early that Father’s Day morning catching a short breakfast with his two young boys before running out for a round of golf with some of his associates.
As I watched and listened to the two of them, a strange feeling came over me. Glenn, my twelve-year-old, seemed to be aging before my eyes. Or maybe it was just the first time I had taken a good look at him since I couldn’t remember when. He was handsome and, luckily for him, was getting to look more and more like his mother. Gosh had he grown up. There was even a hint of fuzz above his upper lip; his hands were immense, and his voice had a break in it. Between my long hours at the office and university plus my weekends on the golf course, I hadn’t noticed his gradual transition from the infant I once bathed every night to the young man who now sat before me. The horrible thought suddenly hit me that he would be off to college in five years and more or less out of my life in ten.
I turned my attention to Todd who was struggling to read aloud from the back of his giant cereal box. He was already in the first grade. It was only yesterday, wasn’t it, that I had paced the floor outside the delivery room until I heard his first cry? Where did those six years go? He glanced up from his cereal bowl, and all I could see were those big brown eyes, cloned directly from his mother. For the first time I noticed how red his hair had become. Todd returned my stare with a frown. “What’s the matter, Dad, don’t you like the cards?”
I assured him that they were great, the very best Father’s Day cards I had ever seen. Then I heard the horn. The guys had arrived. I stood, gave them both another hug, and headed toward the garage. They followed me. When I reached the driveway, Todd said, “Play a good game!”, and Glenn shouted, “I hope you win!”
I waved and walked down the driveway toward the awaiting car. Bob leaped out of the driver’s side to open the back gate in his station wagon for my golf clubs. I said “Good morning” and a few other words. Bob frowned, angrily shook his head, and got back in the car, slamming the door. He gunned the motor and roared off. I stood there in my Arnold Palmer shirt with pants to match hardly comprehending what I had done. Watching me from the garage, as puzzled as I was, stood my two pajama-clad boys.
Finally, Todd came running down the driveway and leaped into my arms. I buried my face in his small chest until he pushed my head back and asked, “Daddy, why are you crying?”
What could I say to him? How could I tell him that my tears were for all those hours and days and years I had spent on all the projects and sales meetings and golf courses that would still be there long after my two little men became big men and left me forever?
This story really hit home for me. I have five beautiful children ages seven to 14 and they are all growing up so very fast that I can’t believe it sometimes! I have raised them to be quite independent and to know how to make good decisions. I think I’ve done a pretty good job raising my children, but there is always something more that I can do…spend more time with them, help them with their homework a little more, be more patient and kind, show them that I love them a little more than I do…the list could go on forever.
Between work, school (that I just finished), the gym, and the various activities they are in, it can be difficult to work in one-on-one time with my children. But, this is something that I must do…before it is too late.
Is there something more that you can do with or for your children before they run off to college and leave you forever? Think about it…what will you regret not doing with your children later in life?