The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, April 09, 2010

"Two More Minutes"

"Two More Minutes!"

I was in the pool with my six year old son Jason yesterday, and when it was time to go in, he begged for a little more play time. I said: "how much more time do you want? It's time for dinner."

"Two minutes!" he said.

I said, "all right...if I give you two minutes, do you promise that when that time is up, you'll get out, and no arguments?"

He readily agreed. Then, when the time was up, of course he wanted more time. I had to laugh. I knew that was coming. Four times out of five he can't help himself, always wanting a little more, a little more. And that's one of the reasons I love kids. They so closely resemble the voices in our own heads that always want a little more...break their promises just a little bit...try to change the rules just slightly...beg and plead and whine and try to convince us that if we do less than our best JUST THIS ONE TIME, it will never bother us again. Just one more forkful. Sleep in just this once. Cheat just this time. Skip exercise just today. Start a budget plan tomorrow, instead of today.

Start writing that award winning story...tomorrow.

Just this once. Just today. And that is the way our lives get stolen, one day, one broken promise, two minutes at a time.

PAY ATTENTION to the voices that beg you to be less than you can. Jason is six--he can get away with it because he has a Daddy who loves him, and will do whatever it takes to make him safe and well and whole. You have to be your own parent now. YOU are the bottom line. And if you are going to reach your dreams, you must commit to being loving but firm with that inner six-year old. Your very life, your very future is at stake.


LaVeda H. Mason said...

: shakes head & laughs :

Steve, you've done it again!!

: gets back to work :

Heather Barton said...

When my kids first started that I had a watch with a timer. I'd give them their 2 minutes and announce the remaining seconds. They complained when we left but were ready. Sadly they are much better negotiators now! And we have to remember that our inner 6 year old is as wise and crafty as any attorney looking for loopholes. I am constantly trying to both listen to my inner God connection and shut up that wiley inner lazy narcissist.

Thanks for the reminders of life, Stephen. I'm a new fan, met you at LOSCON and GLAWS. Inspirational!