One of my favorite biblical lessons, is the reminder that in life, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quiet searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3).
Regardless of whether or not you ascribe to any sort of religious doctrine, this is an important consideration. How do we regard the seasons of life that we’re in? A character on one of my favorite TV shows, Andy Barnard from The Office wondered aloud on the last episode, “I wish there was a way to know you are in the good old days while they’re still happening.” I think there is, but it requires understanding the season of life that you’re currently in. Not a lot of folks pause to consider, what’s the purpose of this current season, and how long can I expect this to last? I believe that when we answer these questions for ourselves, we’ll be much more purposeful about using the time we’ve been given.
As a husband and father, I’m much more conscious about seasons of life now than I ever used to be (and believe me, I was always pretty conscious). I see my daughters as they go through the phases of childhood so quickly, and I can tell which stage I’m in with them. Right now at their young age, it’s all about the planting season of life. We’re instilling values, and granting them the opportunity to learn how to make decisions aligned to those values they are currently learning. Somewhere down the road we hope to harvest the fruit of this season as they become women of good character who positively contribute to society.
My advice for any father today (or anyone for that matter) is to assume that there is a purpose for everything under the sun, and to make it your life’s goal to understand and derive purpose from your daily activities. When you live your life purposefully, you maximize the time you’ve been given.