“Daddyyy.. wiw you pway cawrs (cars) with me?”

Hesitate. Hesitate.. thinking.. quantifying.. calculating: time, responsibilities… indexing tasks.. prioritizing responsibilities..



* Here is where most of us as parents say : “No, I can’t right now – I have too much to do”.

Then behavior and antics escalate into us disciplining because they find something negative to do to get your attention.

Been there?

Most parents (opinion) believe

  • “if I stop what I’m doing right now and spend time doing what you (child) are asking, I won’t accomplish what I need to get done”.
  • “What I am doing is more important.” It’s probably not. And if it is important, it’s probably not an emergency that wouldn’t allow you to take the small amount of time to engage with your child.


My tone in that last point is fairly blunt and accusatory – but it is the reality I am personally writing from. Most of what I am doing isn’t an emergency. There are times, but rarely is it a genuine emergency. I would imagine you can relate.

On Average my child(ren)’s requests / questions probably take 15 min or less. They want to:

  • play a game
  • ask a few questions
  • build a Lego car/plan/boat/truck
  • play dress-up
  • play house

Not exactly “monopolizers” of time.

And what I have observed (as I have practiced this before I preached it on the blog), is that the rest of the afternoon or morning goes really quite well.

Try it.. let us know if you see a difference. We’d love to hear from you.

On top of all that, if we build margin and plan for margin, we’ll be prepared to say in return to our child, “yes. I would wuv to pway cawrs (cars) with you.”


Paddle the Boat is a series encouraging parents to be intentional (paddle) with your family life (the boat).

Written by Jason

lover of: Jesus, @legangw1, 5 sons, lyrics, family humor, and epic blanket forts. Worship Pastor: www.praisecc.org Blogger: www.atthespeedoffamily.com Songwriter: www.soundcloud.com/jgangwish