Children don’t need your presents, they need your presence

They say the best gift parents can give their children is their time. I so totally agree.

What would it take for you to spend more time with your child?

  • If your son was suddenly diagnosed with a serious illness and most likely wouldn’t live more than few weeks, would you endeavor to spend every moment with him?
  • If a serious accident befell your daughter, would you find a way to be with her?

I suspect the answer in both scenarios would be a rousing YES! Of course we would spend every moment with our children if we knew we didn’t have much time with them.

But do we know we WILL have time? It’s so easy to take time for granted and assume our children will be there at some point off in the distant future when we decide we have time for them. But now? Now we’re busy with work and all the other things that somehow manage to fill our days.

And someday, when we’re old and gray and sitting in our rocker, we’ll look back upon all the planes we caught and dollars we stashed in the bank and we’ll wonder how it happened that our children grew old without us.

A few years ago I visited a friend whose son had recently committed suicide. As I knocked on her door I wasn’t sure what words of wisdom I could possibly say. In the end, she was the one with words of wisdom for me.

My friend gave me the biggest hug I’d ever had and, as tears streamed down her cheeks, she said, “Take advantage of every moment. Spend every minute you can with your precious children. Don’t put it off. Tomorrow may never come.”

I thought about Lisa’s words for many an hour as I cycled the highways and byways of the Americas with my husband and children. My sons were changing fast, and I was right there with them.

I won’t be old and gray, sitting in my rocker with bucketloads of money sitting in the bank thinking back upon my life thinking, “I wish I woulda…” Instead I’ll be sitting in that rocker knowing I’m richer, by far, than all those with fat bank accounts. Richer in memories.

Isn’t that what life is all about?

Children don’t need your presents, they need your presence.

Nancy Sathre-Vogel is the “Mom” to Family On Bikes. Family On Bikes is just your everyday, American family who happens to be following their dreams and chasing rainbows. They are adventure-seekers and modern-day explorers who are limited only by their imaginations—and they have very vivid imaginations! They learned early to grab life by the horns and live it to the fullest—to, literally and figuratively, enjoy the ride. The Vogel Family’s most recent adventure was cycling 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina.

Posted by | Comments (2)  | October 30, 2012
Category: Family Travel


2 Responses to “Children don’t need your presents, they need your presence”

  1. Erin Says:

    Nancy is a weekly contributor to my site and I always enjoy her insight into traveling with kids. I recently did a guest post on her site about ending our year long trip because it is what my son needs now. http://familyonbikes.org/blog/2012/10/when-travel-is-not-good-for-kids/

    Spending the last 7 months on the road have been invaluable in teaching our son about values. He still loves his presents, mind you, but he is over the moon excited about a small trinket. He is far more excited to go home and hug his grandparents.

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