Moments in Time
“Memories are made from moments in time, not tasks.” Charles Swindoll, Parenting, p.110.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
“Alright boys, let’s take a break.”
We’d been cutting wood since first light. It was only 9 a.m. but already my brothers and I were covered in sawdust and sweat, and our boots and pants legs were soaked from the moisture of the forest floor.
Late summer and early fall was the time we headed to the dense forest behind our house to get the wood supply for the winter. Dad would get us up at 4:30 am. He already had a fire going in the wood stove with bacon and eggs sizzling in pans. We’d squeeze into the cab of the pick up, trying desperately to grab a few more minutes of sleep before dad found the spot where we would start our work. Light was just breaking through the trees when he’d cut the engine and say, “Get the chain saws.” For the next two hours the whine of the saws cut the silence of the forest. Two guys cut while two others carried the wood and threw it in the back of the truck.
After a couple of hours dad would cut the engine of his saw and announce, “Alright boys, let’s take a break.” Usually by then the truck bed was full and a large pile of wood was stacked along side of it, ready to be loaded after the truck was emptied.
Photos compliments of Dirt and Lace Blog
We’d sit around on logs for as long as dad would let us, drinking water, snacking, and enjoying the rest. Sometimes the breaks would last an hour or more. We thought we were lucky when they did. We were lucky. The breaks were not so much about taking a rest from work as they were about a father bonding with his boys.
Imagine sitting on logs, leaning up against a tree, deep in a forest, with no iPods, cellphones or other distractions. It’s just you and a few of the people you are closest to, talking. Our conversations were about baseball, politics, God, history, going to college, career choices, dating, getting married, having kids, and being faithful husbands and dads. We learned a little about a lot of things in those backwoods’ conversations.
We had tasks to get done: cutting, hauling and stacking firewood for the long Vermont winter. But, we also had memories to create, and, as Charles Swindoll wrote, lasting memories are not made from getting our tasks done (as important as they may be). Life-impacting memories are made during those moments when we invest ourselves in each others’ lives.
That’s what our breaks from wood cutting were really about. He was letting us catch our breaths and rest. But, mostly, he was capitalizing on the moments to invest his thoughts and values within three teenage boys. That’s what Ephesians 6:4 is about: “bring your kids up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” The idea behind “bring them up” is to feed and nurture them. We nurture our kids not just with nutritious food that is good for their bodies, but with nutritious ideas and values that are good for their souls.
Many of the choices we have made through life trace their inspiration to those moments and conversations. How to treat a girl, having conversations with our own kids, paying our bills, and going to church were all decisions made later in life but were influenced by conversations on a birch log years before.
Dad made sure the tasks got done. But he also made sure that in the process we made memories, and lives, from these moments in time.
How do you make the most of "moments in time" with your children?