My older daughter is wearing a walking cast on her left foot. She's had it for two weeks, and she's ready for it to come off. Unfortunately for her, her foot isn't quite ready to bear her weight all day.
If you follow my blog at all, you know that both of my girls are very active. My older daughter plays soccer competitively, and this spring she was going to run track. She's not taking this forced inactivity well. It seems it takes a long time for a small fracture to heal. She's ready to get moving, play soccer, run track and just generally be active. But her foot is not.
As I've watched her chafe at her forced period of rest, I have been struck by just how much waiting for her foot to heal resembles childhood. Our kids are always so ready to move onto the next stage of life, so ready to grow up, that they don't want to wait for the right time. They want to be able to do all the things the older kids and the adults get to do -- even though they aren't ready for those things yet.
My daughter's foot isn't ready for the pummeling it will take on the soccer field, yet my daughter wants to get right back out there. Having the walking boot on her foot is forcing her to rest, to stay in the moment instead of charging ahead.
In the same way, we have to help our kids appreciate the moment they are in. We need to help them appreciate all the joys of being 3 or 10 or 15. We need to help them know that the time for more grown-up things is coming, but there are joys to be found in the stage they are currently in. They don't have to be in such a hurry to grow up.
God said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." God has set aside time for everything -- time to be 3, time to be 10, time to be 15, time to be 85. When we spend all our time looking forward to what's next, we miss what's right now. We miss what God has for us in the present when we spend all our time focused on the future.
So, the next time your kids yearn to be older, sit them down, hand them a piece of paper and help them list out all the great things about being right where they are. Help them to see the plans God has for them and how He can use them right there in the midst of today.
Because tomorrow will be here soon enough.