“…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14

Do you know the lyrics to the song by Harry Chapin entitled, “Cats in the Cradle”? You should.

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking before I knew it and as he grew
He said, “I’m gonna be like you, Dad,
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, dad, I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, Son,
You know we’ll have a good time then.

My son turned ten just the other day
He said “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today,
I got a lot to do” He said “That’s okay”
And then he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m going to be like him”

Well he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say,
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head, and he said with a smile

“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?”

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Son, I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, Dad,
You know we’ll have a good time then.

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day……..
I said “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said “I’d love to Dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new jobs a hassle, and the kids have the flu.
But It’s sure nice talking to you, Dad,
It’s been sure nice talking to you……..”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me,
My boy was just like me…………..

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Son, I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then.

The time we dreaded had come. Our grandsons and their parents were walking through the lane going into the airport security to board their flight to Seattle, before finally going to Okinawa where they had been stationed.

As so many before us, we waited and waved as long as we could. Then it happened. That dreaded moment when our grandson and his dad disappeared around the corner and could been seen no more. My wife and I could contain no longer contain our emotions. We held each other and cried. They would be in Okinawa for three years. Three years! Things change a lot in three years.

They grow up so quickly! I need to spend more time with my kids! How did they grow up so fast?! What happened to their childhood? Ever heard someone say these things? We all have and they are all true.

The hustle and bustle of life for most of us is just a fact. The gadgets and toys of the digital age have given us more time and more competition of choices to fill the time we have. Life is passing fast. Always has. Always will. Embrace it. Plan for it. Prepare for the day your child “disappears around the corner.”

Your child will grow up. They will reach a point in their life when they will move into the adult world of life and responsibility, and your investment of time, tears, effort, and love will “reap what you have sown.”

Don’t be like so many others I have observed over the years and tell yourself…I’ll do it later. I’ll spend more time with them. I’ll teach them important lessons. I’ll read to them. I’ll pray with them. I’ll take them to church. Et al, et al, et al. I’ll do it later. Sure you will. You haven’t yet.

Our children’s lives are not a “dress rehearsal.” We don’t get do-overs, or a second chance at raising them. For better or worse we (and they) are stuck with the consequences of our choices. Keep in mind too, that beyond the day when they grow up, there is the matter of the preparation for there life beyond this one.

G.K. Chesterton, the brilliant English writer of another time, once answered The Times newspaper, which had asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?”. Chesterton’s answer at that time was the shortest of those submitted – he simply wrote: “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton”.