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Timing is everything

bean sprouts

In my ongoing agricultural war, I’ve made a lot of headway. We solved the water problem, moved the beds to the front to solve the sunlight issue, fenced the beds in to guard against evil rabbits, and provide the little plantlets with delicious and nutritious worm poop.

But one critical aspect is timing. You gotta plant when the time is right. Plant too early and the little seedlings freeze out. Plant too late and the heat is too much for the poor things. You have a short window of opportunity. If you miss it, you’ll have to wait a whole year to try again.

The same is true in the lives of our families, except too often if you miss your window, you don’t get another shot. Family life — all life — is made of seasons. It is most evident when you have young children: the teething season, the colicky season, the diaper season, and the very long “why?” season.

But even if it isn’t as obvious as children get older and stop growing so very fast, our children have seasons, and our influence and opportunities in those seasons have a short window. I’m particularly aware of this fact as my oldest daughter prepares to start high school next year. A window of opportunity to speak into her life is coming to a close. Of course, Lord willing, we’ll always have influence in her life, but it won’t be this window, this opportunity.
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In other areas, I’m seeing a need and an opportunity to help my children build firm foundations, avoid pitfalls, and correct some bad habits that are developing. I also have a sense of urgency that this is a short window.

My mistake with gardening in the past was not appreciating that I had to plant in that window or it would be gone. I’d put it off, because spring is such a busy season, and before I knew it, the window was closed. Late May or June plantings resulted in plants scorched in the July and August heat.

I don’t want to make that mistake with my children. I won’t get another opportunity in a year. This is it. And just like I had to adjust my priorities to get my garden in at the proper time, I’m having to adjust my priorities to take advantage of this season in my children’s lives. I’m not sure what that will look like yet, but I do know there are some things going back on the shelf, pushed back to another season of my life so that I can take full advantage of my kid’s spring.

Have you ever felt the urgency of the window of opportunity? Have you regretted missing a window you thought would be open longer?

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