By Amy Hackworth.
I’ve been thinking about those seemingly small parenting moments that turn out to be more memorable than we expected ever since I read Tracy Grant’s post. She suggests that the really sweet, significant moments might be just 5% of what we do as parents. I’m not ready to concede that it’s such a small percentage, but I’m going with it because her numbers make a good point.
Immersed in managing daily life — say, the other 95% — we’re sometimes tempted to forego the extra effort of that 5%. I’m definitely guilty, and Grant shares my justification almost verbatim when she writes, “Could my kids live full, complete, successful lives without ever seeing Finding Nemo in 3-D?” When the answer is yes, I rationalize that we have plenty of other family fun, and we can skip fill in the blank with a fun family adventure for now.
On one hand, this is wise parenting. I’d drive myself and my kids crazy trying to squeeze in every good thing that crosses our path. But Grant’s point is that when she did take her 16-year-old twin sons to see Finding Nemo in 3-D, it was a rich and meaningful experience for all of them.
And this is the idea I’m most intrigued by; that the 5% moments have the potential to make us significantly happier, to bring noticeably greater joy into our lives. They’re unnecessary by the most practical measures, but essential for a full life. They’re things like museum visits, kitchen science experiments, art lessons, star-gazing long past bedtime, living room dance parties.
Children are naturally good at this — playing with the box the toy comes in as much as the toy seems like a perfect example — but I can definitely see room for improvement in my life.
I can’t wait to hear what you think. What was the last small moment with your family that turned out to be bigger than you expected? And do you think an extra 5% of living can make life exponentially more beautiful?
This would be one of those 5% moments.