“I love watching my kids grow up. But I hate it that they’re growing up.”

Frank Barnett

In the quaint town of Little Peculiar, there lived a man named Eli, who had an obsession with time. Not in a cool, sci-fi way, but more like your uncle who constantly reminds everyone at family gatherings how quickly time flies, usually while pointing at children and sighing dramatically.

Eli had two sons, whom, for reasons known only to Eli and a therapist he saw briefly in the ’90s, he named Tick and Tock. “They’re my constant reminders,” he’d say, “that time is slipping away!” Tick and Tock grew up as you’d expect the sons of a time-obsessed man would – perpetually aware that every passing second was a second they’d never get back.

One day, in a burst of what he considered to be paternal wisdom, Eli decided to teach his boys a lesson about the fleeting nature of time. He gathered them in the backyard, where he had, in a stroke of what can only be described as eccentric genius, installed a giant hourglass.

“Boys,” he said, gesturing grandly to the hourglass, “this represents our lives. See how the sand trickles down? That’s time, always moving, never stopping. Remember, we must cherish every moment!”

Tick, ever the literal one, squinted at the hourglass. “But Dad, if we’re always worried about losing time, aren’t we just… losing more time?”

“Tock, who had developed a knack for punctuating his entrances and exits with a dramatic ‘It’s Tock time!’ to the amusement (and sometimes annoyance) of his family, nodded in agreement.”Yeah, Dad. It’s like, the more you look at the hourglass, the less you’re enjoying the sand.”

Eli paused, the gears in his time-obsessed brain grinding. He looked at the hourglass, then at his sons, their faces earnest and slightly confused. A realization dawned on him, as clear as the day he realized that naming his kids Tick and Tock might have been a bit much.

“You know what, boys?” Eli said, a smile creeping onto his face. “You’re absolutely right. Let’s forget the hourglass for a moment. How about we just enjoy this sunny day?”

And so, they did. They played games, laughed, and for the first time in a long time, Eli forgot to glance over at the trickling sand. He realized that in his quest to teach his sons about savoring time, he had almost missed the chance to actually do it.

From that day on, the hourglass in the backyard stood not as a grim reminder of time slipping away, but as a quirky lawn ornament that occasionally scared the neighbor’s cat. Eli and his sons, Tick and Tock, spent their days not worrying about the sand in the hourglass, but enjoying the sand in their shoes, the sun on their faces, and the joy of being together – in the present.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.