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Why Northbridge parents should be spending quality time with their children now, before they're gone

Alison Vaughan
Alison Vaughan (3 posts) Primary School Counsellor View Profile

I am soon to be an empty nester (our two chicks/children will have soon both flown the nest) and I, like the ABBA song says “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture… slipping through my fingers all the time.” This year at Northbridge International School Cambodia is a year of lasts, last first day of the new academic year, last parent meetings, last of encouraging homework to be completed before the absolute deadline, last of being tucked up in bed (somewhere along the way, the roles became reversed…!), last of so many lasts and a new chapter awaits us all. 

I reflect back with joy and gratitude for the years shared and I look forward with excitement for all that lies ahead for our beloved son and beloved daughter as they fly on their own independent journeys through life. I look forward with a twinge of sadness too, as the seasons have come and gone and now, although life is always full of hope and I’m excited, I also acknowledge with tears that the four of us will never quite go back to what we once were.

And why do I tell you this? Why do I share this with you? I share this because although you may feel like your time will never come, one day, you too will be empty nesters and your family that once was, will never quite be the same again. And what is the point of this, to make you feel melancholy, to make you feel a twinge of sadness before your due time? The point is that, you can never get this time back and so my challenge to you is, are you making the most of your children?

The reality is that sometimes we are so busy providing for our children, providing that education, providing the latest gadgets, providing, providing and providing that we forget to actually spend anytime with our children and soon enough they will have gone and what regrets will we have? Our children need to know that they are loved and cherished and if we don’t give them any time then we are starving them of attention and then we shouldn’t be surprised when they find ways of getting attention in the wrong places. 

One of the ways that we all receive love is quality time. Your children need your provision but they also need your time. When all is said and done and we have all long since departed from this world what will our children remember of us? If we have a treasure box that we give our children at birth what will be in that treasure box that they will take with them through their life? We can not all change nations but we can change the lives of our children for better or worse and we can give them a treasure trove of memories.

My parents were not perfect parents, there is no such thing, but I have some cherished memories and they are rich and vibrant, joyful and hopeful and they have helped to bind our family together through the inevitable highs and lows of life. My family made family traditions and my husband and I have enjoyed making family traditions too with our children, the four of us will reflect back and laugh at the ridiculous and cry at the painful and nobody quite understands us four as we understand each other.  

Northbridge International School Cambodia - Family

So, Dearest Parents, if I may be so bold as to call you that, can I encourage you to spend time with your children. When they’re little, play with them, tuck them up in bed, tell them stories and have bedtime stories as often as you can, hug them and tell them that you love them frequently. When they’re older still hug them, still tell them that you love them, listen to them and show that you care about them and not just their academic progress, laugh with them, cry with them, say sorry when you got it wrong and make that treasure chest full to overflowing of memories that will last a lifetime and long after the latest gadget has long since become a historical relic! 

Time is one of the most precious and important things we can give to our children and none of us can stop the passing of time. Time is always slipping through our fingers and soon enough so too will the family life we have known, as our children leave home and life will never quite be the same again. Cherish your family life and cherish your children and give to them the time which is actually rightfully theirs. No one has ever said on their deathbed that they wished they’d spent more time at the office!