Two years ago this week I wrote about How Jars of Beads Have Affected My Parenting. You can read the idea behind it in the original post, but basically each bead represents a day, and the number of beads represent the number of days each of our girls have until they are off to college, and this season of life is over, the next phase of life begins, and the dynamics of our relationship with them will change in many ways. As of today (using mid-August as an estimate) we are down to 365 days remaining for Claudia, and 1,460 days left for Natalia. You can see in the pictures below the comparison of how far the beads have gone down in two years. It’s a sober reminder of how fast time goes by, and also a challenge to make sure we give our girls our best and invest well in them before they are off to college or wherever God leads them after high school. As I wrote previously, there are days when I kick myself for not doing more to invest in and impact them. And there are other days when I can say we did a pretty good job creating memories and/or preparing them for life. Through it all we are trying and we are learning. Here are a couple of things I have been thinking about, especially as I reach into Claudia’s jar every morning.

  • The further down the beads go, the tougher they are to reach. You’ll notice that the vases have curves in them. When the beads are closer to the top they are easy to get to. But within the past couple of months, I have noticed that it is harder to get my hand into the vase to reach Claudia’s beads. Hard truth: The older our kids get the more difficult it is to reach them. But there is good news.
  • It is still possible to reach them, it just takes some adjusting and creativity. I can still reach the beads, but I have to change my approach. I can’t go in with my hand wide open. Instead I have to make my hand as thin as I can, and once I get through the curve, I have to maneuver my fingers awkwardly until I get a bead. Then I have to somehow hold on to it as I contort my hand to get it back through the curve. Another thing I sometimes have to do is tip the vase so the beads get closer to the opening and they are easier to reach. Truth: We can still influence our kids as they get older, but we have to be patient and creative in our approach.

044dd-img_9648IMG_6382God, please help us as parents to redeem the time and maximize the days we have during this precious season of our daughters’ lives to point them to You and to empower them to be the women of God You have called them to be. You have great plans and purposes for their lives, and we pray they will find their identity, security, and destiny in You, and You alone. Amen.


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