How Much Time Do We Have Left With Our Children?

None of us know how much time we have left with our children. If everything goes according to plan we may agree that our kids come into this world and spend about 18 years with us, then depart to pursue their own life and career independently from us.

In the Jutila household our kids are approaching the age of departure and the question that comes to mind is did Mary and I do our best with the time we had with them? Did we take advantage of the “opportunities” we had with them? (See Ephesians 5:15-16).

There is a scene that takes place in the kitchen of ABC’s TV comedy Modern Family and opens with chaos brewing. It’s parents at their worst and the kids not much better. There is shouting, a fire erupting on the stove and a dish shattering as it hits the floor. Frenetic energy fills the scene as the dialogue picks up . . .

Haley (Daughter): “You win the award for the worst mother ever.”
Claire (Mom): “I will be sure to thank you in my speech.”
Haley (Daughter): “I hope the whole house burns down.”
Mitchell (Claire’s brother, just arriving): “Did we come at a bad time?”
Claire (Mom): “Come back in seven years and five months when they are all gone.” (1)

It’s Claire’s last line that makes this scene actually pretty funny and reflective. She knew exactly how much time was left in her “I have kids in my house season.” I’m not sure how she had that information at the tip of her tongue, but it’s actually pretty useful information.

If you were to break down how much time we have left with our children before they graduate high school it would look something like this.

  • 18 Years or
  • 216 Months or
  • 936 Weeks or
  • 6570 Days or
  • 157,680 Hours or
  • 9,460,800 Minutes

I would like to suggest a more practical and compelling way to track how much time you have left with your children at home. It’s called the Legacy Countdown, and it’s an app created by The ReThink Group.

Get The Legacy Countdown App for Android Here

Get The Legacy Countdown App on iTunes Here

With this app on your smart phone, you can enter your child’s name, age and expected graduation date, and the app will show you how much time you have left with your child before he or she goes off to college or to work. When you visualize the time you have left with your kids, there is a better chance of your making that time really count.

If we thought about our time the same way we thought about our money we would take better care of our minutes and invest them wisely. The simple fact is we don’t track our time the same way we track our money. We usually know where our money is going but we can’t always give an accurate account of where our time has gone.

My advice, get the app and track your time. If you do you will be more aware of how you are spending and investing it in the life of your kids.

How much time do you have left with your children?
What will you do this week to invest deliberately in their lives?

Photo Credit: Image ID: 120663313 Oleksiy Mark

Footnote (1)
Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan and Bill Wrubel, “Someone to Watch over Lily,” Modern Family, season 2, episode 20, directed by Michael Spiller, aired April 20, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA: 20th Century Fox, 2011), DVD