Parental Percentages

I’m not a math guy. I hate numbers. But the Buzzard Blog has done some excellent work with numbers. I share Taylor’s entire post here because I want you to read it. But do check the Buzzard’s blog often.

Algebra For Parenting
A guest post by Taylor Buzzard:

This is a mathematics post. The reason for this different approach is my teething four-month-old’s frequent nighttime waking, which leaves me struggling to think clearly enough to form sentences. Math doesn’t require too many sentences, so I think this is a good plan. Let’s get started.

Your children are your dependents for 18 years. Yes, in some cases children try to remain dependents indefinitely. But, our task is to prepare them for life on their own, and 18 years is the amount of time they are our legal dependents, so 18 is the number we will work with.

Our algebra equation for the day is as follows:

x / 18 = y

“x” is your child’s age.

18 is the number of years your child is your dependent.

“y” is the percentage of time that has passed.

My firstborn is a mere 2.25 years old. He’s so young that I catch myself calling him my baby from time to time. Yet, mathematics tells me a sad truth.

2.25 /18 = 0.125
0.125 = 12.5%

12.5% of my time with him as my dependent is GONE. DONE. OVER. When I first did this calculation, I thought I had set up the equation wrong. It couldn’t be true, there had to be a mistake somewhere. I redid the math, I checked the equation, and had to face the dark reality. Over 10% of my time is done. And he’s still in diapers!

Algebra can help with parenting.

If you’ve had a challenging day with a know-it-all teenager, a pre-pubescent tween, a non-stop question asking child, or a shrieking infant, do the math and watch your heart soften. Our time with our children is fleeting. Be intentional. Seize every moment by the horns. And do the math again, every now and then, to remind yourself of how fast their childhood is going to whiz by.

Please, do the math. The math will help you love your children better today. The math will make you take a giant step backwards, away from the difficulties of parenting, to better see the privilege and delight of parenting. Take your child’s age, divide it by 18. Take the resulting number and move the decimal point over 2 places to the right, and that is the percentage of time that has passed. Leave a comment if the result leaves you a bit shocked.


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