A Father's Most Painful Lesson on the Value of Time

A Father's Most Painful Lesson on the Value of Time

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned about fatherhood is that the most precious asset a man will ever have is the time he has with his children.

But I learned that lesson through excruciating pain and sorrow.

When my first-born son was about 18 months old, he almost died. This is not hyperbole. This is not clickbait. I almost lost my son.

Out of respect for my son and family, I’m going to leave out the specific details. They aren’t relevant to the message I want to share today. However, I decided to tell this story in the first edition of the High Value Dad newsletter for a reason.

The Value of Time

The painful reality is: there is never “enough” time. It doesn’t matter if you do everything perfectly, optimize every minute, attend every sports game — when our children leave our homes, we will inevitably be sitting in an empty house wondering how the time went so fast.

Some parents get to spend 18 years with their children living under their roof. Some parents don’t. Some parents live to see their children have children. Some parents don’t.

Some parents spend just minutes with their children in a NICU unit. Some parents have to live through the process of burying their own children. There is never enough time.

I spent many hours not knowing if I would be one of those parents who hears constantly, “I can’t even imagine.” I was never the same ever again after that day.

Tomorrow is never promised. For you or anyone else.

I immediately saw the concept of time through an entirely different lens. It seems so obvious that time is to be treasured, yet we can easily find ourselves in dysfunctional cycles of being halfway present, buried in a smart phone, or rushing through moments that otherwise could be special.

Fatherhood Paradigm Shift

I recently told a story about losing my temper with my son, the one from this story, when he refused to go to bed. “GO TO BED, COLTON!” I barked. He replied meekly, “But I need you.”

“I need you.” Those words pierced my heart. How many years do I have left of hearing those innocent words come out of his mouth? Armed with the perspective learned through tragedy, I was able to take a deep breath, compose myself and decide instead to create a special moment.

I looked him in the eye and I told him how special it was to me that he needs me and I make him feel safe. I told him I know it won’t always be that way and I’m so grateful for him. He wrapped me in a big bear hug. Then I rubbed his back, kissed his head, and he drifted to sleep.

In that moment, I had two options: to spend the last 10 minutes of the night hollering and fussing or spend the last 10 minutes of the night in gratitude that I am blessed enough to be able to put my young son to sleep in a safe, warm bed.

I’m not sure that I would have ever discovered insight without living through the absolute worst day of my life.

My personal hope is that this story can be the spark that ignites a spirit of gratitude and Godly perspective inside of every man who invested the time to read it.

I would never wish what we went through on even my worst enemy. It is my genuine desire that you can learn and apply the lesson it taught me without any of the heartache.

God bless every one of you,

Jason Howerton
Founder, High Value Dad

*This is not a sponsored post but I wanted to include a link to St. Jude for donations because it’s a charity we became passionate about after our son’s experience. Give only if you are moved to do so.