Today is the last day of August. Monday, Labor Day, is the unofficial end to Summer. Was this summer what you had hoped it would be? We're a nation built on hope. For most of us, we believe in a better future. (It's why credit cards ruin so many lives: we buy today believing we'll have a better job and/or more money to pay for it tomorrow.) And if you're like me, you go into a season like summer with the best of intentions. The most grand of plans. It's a blank palette, and in our minds we paint a soaring landscape of events. (THIS summer is going to be GREAT! We'll go to the zoo, take a trip to the beach, I'll fix the roof, I'll start my book, we'll do more volunteer work, I'll start running, we'll teach the kids to cook, and on, and on, and on.....) All too often, the sad reality is this: we wake up, it's the last day in the month of August, and it slowly dawns on us: where did summer go? You know, not only have I heard it way too often, I now SAY it way too often: TIME IS FLYING BY. It's relentless. Time does what we don't: it never quits. It doesn't observe any major holidays. It runs and runs. Sleeping? Time isn't. Playing a video game? Time is still moving. Watching a re-run of a show you've already seen several times? Time is always fresh....then gone in a second. Which is really the point of this post. I want to encourage all of us: BE AWARE OF TIME. It's quiet. It doesn't try to get your attention. It's misleading that way. But it's always there. And that leads to my second point: INVEST IT WISELY. What do I mean by that? Here's an example. A dad has a hectic life. Lots to do. He feels the pressure from his job, his family, his bills, his responsibilities. So when it comes time to accomplish a task for the home - like fixing the fence - he's all geared up and ready to finally get some stuff done. "I DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME", he thinks. "MORE STUFF TO DO AND SO LITTLE TIME TO DO IT', he grouses. His son appears and says: "Dad? Can I help?" AND FREEZE! 99% of Dads will do what they've been trained to do. And that is say this: (option 1) "Hey - not now. Dad's gotta get this thing done and it's a little dangerous/complicated/frustrating." And this is what his kid heard: "I don't have time to mess with explaining it to you" What a common scene, and what a colossally missed opportunity to make a real impact in a kids life. So, as encouragement, let me show option 2; same scene.....son asks same question.....and instead of auto-replying Dad takes a second and thinks) (you know, it's not life-or-death that this fence get fixed right now or even today; if I really think about it, what do I care about more? fixing this stupid board that's been broken forever? or showing my son I love him and investing some quality time with the boy? I mean, which one is REALLY more important? he's obviously reaching out...wants to help, for crying out loud...wants to actually be with his dad....soooo) "That's a GREAT idea. I don't think I could do this alone. Lets see...where should we start...." And with that, you have made a sizable deposit into that kids emotional bank account. And I don't think it can ever be withdrawn.....I think it stays in his heart's vault forever. Did we accomplish every single thing we hoped to this summer? In no way. I waste FAR too much time. But man, did we do a lot of fun stuff! I've been blessed with countless moments this past season....and I cherish every one. I find that during the day they'll just pop into my head and make me smile, make me laugh. What about you? Are you even the smallest bit guilty? Feeling just a pang of regret yourself? Didn't do what you had hoped? Here's the good news: Fall is right around the corner. Ready. Set. Go.