The Beans of Our Lives

Choosing to be Intentional with the Time We have with our Kids

Last year my husband and I decided to make bean jars for our three boys after talking about doing it for a few months. Our goal is to be aware of the time we have with our kids. This will help us be intentional with the choices we make.

A bean jar for each child represents the amount of weeks they have left until they graduate high school— each bean equals one week of their life.

I found some mason jars from a thrift store or garage sale, and we counted out the beans for each of our three boys. (We chose beans because they’re cheap and look pretty in the jars, but you could use whatever item suits your fancy).

Or it’s always easy to find them on Amazon!

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Helpful Parenting App

We got this idea from an awesome phone app called Parent Cue. With this app, you can plug in your child’s birthday and it will give you that powerful number.

Parent Cue App

Our oldest is 12. We only have 315 weeks left with him until he graduates high school.  Our middle son has 471 weeks, and our youngest has 575 weeks.

The Parent Cue app is an incredible resource and it has encouraged us in our parenting journey.

After plugging in their birthdays, it gives different tools to help you understand and connect with your child. There are sections that give you questions to ask your child, scriptures to read, things to remember, and ways you can show your child kindness.

One section I love is “It’s Just a Phase.”

For our jr. higher this week it says “Life might be full of drama. Maybe there’s yelling, slamming doors, and crying. But your kid needs you. Their emotions are constantly changing, and now’s the time to show them your love is consistent.”

It’s so important to remember that. The weeks are flying by, folks.

Bless the Beans

Every weekend we ask the boys to take a bean out of their respective jar. We do this with them separately.

After the bean is removed, we thank God for the week we had with that child.
The memories we made.
The lessons we learned. 
Then we pray for the upcoming week.

We pray for the adults we know that are investing in our kids and we pray for us to make the most of our time with our boys.

We pray over them, thanking God for the gifts he has put in each of them.

Then they take their bean and put it in a big jar in our bedroom. We want to keep those beans. Those beans represent such a big part of our hearts.

Purposeful Placement

We keep the bean jars in our living room on our mantel.

They are front and center. There is no missing them if we are sitting in the living room, watching tv or visiting. We placed them in that location on purpose.

Beans on mantle

It seems like those requests to play a game or stay up late come at times when we are tired and sitting in our living room.

We see those beans and they encourage us to say yes.
Yes, we will play that card game.
Yes, you can stay up a little bit later and watch that ballgame with us.

We want to be reminded that our time with our boys is limited—that those jars will never get more beans but instead will be dwindling down each week. I am pretty sure that I cried the first time we counted out the beans. Our oldest son’s jar seemed so empty. I kept wanting to add more beans but it doesn’t work that way. Time continues to pass. For all of us.

No Such Thing As Magic Beans

I want to take a moment to be real with you. This doesn’t mean that we never get mad at our kids, or that we spend every waking second with them, or that we sit around and hold hands and laugh all the time.

We still lose our patience. We need breaks from them (just as they do from us), and we cannot wait for them to go to bed some nights.

If I’m really honest with you, I find myself subconsciously singing “Ya’ll gonna make me lose my mind (up in here, up in here)” more often than I can count.

A lot of times, my husband and I have to sit by ourselves and acknowledge the chaos that was our day. That doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids.

Many nights I have found myself saying “Goodnight, love you, I should not see you again until morning.” And if those little feet come out one more time I’m gonna be singing “Ya’ll gonna make me……” with a megaphone loud and clear until they go back in their sweet little beds and stay in there.

For the love. Just stay in there.

Your Turn

I encourage you to make jars for your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews— any child that you want to make the most of your time with. I promise you that it’s worth it.

If you don’t live with the child you are investing in, you can still keep a jar at your house and pray for their past week and the week to come.

Thoughtful Gift Idea – If you know somebody having a baby, give them a jar with beans, or marbles, or whatever fun item you want to use and remind them their time goes fast.

That physical act of removing a bean each week has made a huge difference for us. We want to always focus on being intentional with the time we have with our kids. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the beans of our lives.

Next Steps

Please leave a comment about how you are intentional with the time you have with your kids.

Looking for more ways to be intentional? Check out these articles…

Seasons of Motherhood and Finding Joy in Each One

Living in the Light


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