The other day I learned anew that it is so easy to become preoccupied and miss those wonderful opportunities. As my wife drove the family van to town, I was sitting in the back seat with the kids, caught up in what I was reading. But I couldn’t help noticing that Thessa, my 2½- year-old daughter, was intently staring at me. After about a minute, she finally said to me in a lovable, heartfelt tone, “Are you going to talk to me?”

What does a father do at a time like that? I turned to her with a huge smile and said “Sure, Thessa. What do you want to talk about?” She responded with the same tone, “I don’t know—just talk to me.”

How many times do we parents respond, “In a minute”? When that minute is gone, it is gone forever. I am told by parents with older children that there may come a time when I would give anything for a moment of openness like that. That day, my little girl had a genuine desire to touch my soul, to walk with me for a moment, to give and receive.

Adults can sit silently in a car for hours and still feel a sense of bond and fellowship. But children are developing fast and need to hear, see, and feel things that make them feel secure and to know that they are appreciated. Thessa had a genuine desire to connect with me. What a loss for me (and for her) if I should miss it.

Most parents are good at providing for and protecting their children. That may be good enough for plants growing in a greenhouse, but children need constant cultivating. Just as we thrill at the first word, first step, first complete sentence, or the first time they figure out what we are spelling, so we must capture and document and remember that first time they reach out to touch our souls in fellowship. Capture the moment, savor it; and like two lifelong friends, be refreshed by it.