Ten Precious Minutes – Dayton Parent Magazine

School is now beginning. Some parents may be rejoicing while others may be dreading the daily grind of taking kids back and forth to school, sports practice and other activities. Instead of groveling about it, appreciate this time because it goes quickly!

The Following story from me appeared in

The Chicken Soup for the Soul book-“Parenthood”

It reflects the most important thing we give our children…. our time and presence!

Whether its five minutes of advice, twenty minutes of tossing a ball, a quick tea party or just driving them to school and back. Parenting is about being there for our sons and daughters! I hope you enjoy the story it will also be featured again in another Chicken Soup for the Soul book titled

“Raising Great Kids” which comes out next month!



I grab my daughter’s backpack and load it into the car before our ten minute ride to school.

I do a double take this morning as I notice that my little girl has grown into a young lady.

She has much more style than I ever had or ever will have. Her hairstyle is no longer about pony tails and ribbons. Like my daughter it has become more sophisticated with age. She walks gracefully but with a purpose and asks if we have everything she needs for the day. I tell her that her glasses, backpack and water bottle are all loaded in the car. I open up the garage door, fire up the engine of my Camry and back out of the drive way. Another day is beginning for the both of us. It is about a ten minute drive to school if there is not too much traffic. My daughter takes only a second to reach for the knob of the car radio. She changes channels quickly and tries finding a song to her liking.

Soon Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg are telling me why California Girls are so wonderful.

She loves the song and I must admit I do too, but not to her. I talk about the Beach Boys and how they sang about those California Girls too. I always tell her about the “old school” days when the music was the best. She doesn’t care and someday down the road her kids won’t care about her music either. Actually, they might care but they won’t admit it openly.

The good thing is we are talking and music is always a hot topic for us. More importantly it is a common bond between us. I love the fact that my daughter has inherited my love of music. Though our musical tastes differ we often introduce each other to some of the songs we each prefer. Sometimes, she will fall in love with a song I like or a group I think is great and vice versa. This broadens each of our musical horizons and I must admit it also keeps me young or at least young at heart.

The music also becomes a perfect conversation opener that often leads us into other discussions. How are my daughter’s friends doing, what’s going on during the day, how are classes this week, etc. Because she is a teenager the answers I get are usually quick and not too lengthy. Still we are conversing and I have a brief summary of the upcoming day in her life. Out of the blue the DJ tells a funny story and we both relate to it and laugh. We hear some shocking celebrity gossip and we each gasp and look at each other.

When your child becomes a junior in high school the moments when you bond become fewer and farther between. You learn to truly appreciate each moment you get. You also feel guilt for the times you have missed. Earlier in my daughters life it was vital for me to get to work early and put in a long day. I chose my job over my child at the start of each day. Thankfully my wife who has always been the ultimate mother drove my daughter to school day after day and time after time.

My wife did this without complaint and gains my deepest appreciation and thanks for it.

From pre-school until high school I missed out on a gift, the gift of time with my daughter. Knowing that I missed that gift has led to guilt and in some cases sadness as I understand that even ten minutes a day can have a positive impact on both her life and mine.

The same can be said for simple tasks that allow you to have snippets of time with your child, one extra ten minute story or a ten-minute bike ride with them can do wonders. Parents tend to complain about how busy our kid’s lives are and how we hate being their chauffeurs or having to perform other mundane chores that come with raising a child. We are consumed with not having enough time in a day.

It is actually pretty easy to give an extra ten minutes a day to your child. In the end those ten minutes become an investment. The reward is a combination of great memories for you and some life long appreciation from your daughter or son.  I’m not a stock broker or financial analyst but turning a minor investment into a priceless lifelong reward is the ultimate payoff.

When I first began the task of taking my daughter to school, I grumbled and looked at it as something that I didn’t want to do. It was similar to starting a new exercise program. I had to motivate myself to do it. I didn’t think I could give up ten minutes a day.  In the end, those ten minutes a day have become a great daily surprise and a positive experience for me. Like ten minutes of exercise they have helped my physical and mental well being.

My daughter grabs her backpack as we arrive at the drop-off area of her school. She lugs the pack onto her back and taps me lovingly on the knee and I tap her arm. It’s a simple ritual we have and the real definition of a love tap between Dad and his princess. We tell each other to have a good day as Lady Gaga sings “Poker Face” in the background. I watch a young lady that I am so proud of walk into school. I pull away and quickly switch the radio tuner to a U2 song. Bono is reminding me that it’s a “Beautiful Day”. Thanks to those ten minutes I get to share with my daughter each morning, every day is a little more beautiful to me.

Note: This story was written few years ago and my daughter is now beginning her junior year of college at Wright State University. We still share a love for music and each other, and I miss our ten minute morning car rides!


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