As a dad with young kids I’m continually repeating the following parental maxim: 

“The days may be long but the years will be short”. 

Each day with young children can seem a drawn-out repeat of the previous, so I endeavour to minimise some of my frustrations with the adage I just mentioned: “The days may be long but the years will be short”. 

Every evening when I bang on the bathroom door and tell my daughters to “hurry up in there!” – I whisper to myself: “The days may be long but the years will be short”. Each morning when I rush around the house asking my eight-year-old son: “Where are your school shoes, lad? I can’t believe you’ve lost them again!” I stare down his I-don’t-care-about-shoes facial expression and say to myself….. “The days may be long but the years will be short”.

When I speak with parents whose offspring are into their latter teens or even older, they share with me their laments and regrets regarding not embracing this “younger” parenting season with their own kids. These more experienced parents miss the long days of when their own kids were smaller, and they prod me with a large stick of urgency to spend more time with mine.  

Yes, the days may be long but the years are short.

As both a father of faith and also a minister of religion I was blessed early last year to baptise my then twelve-year-old daughter .  The baptismal ceremony and subsequent celebrations were held just weeks before the pandemic pressed ‘pause’ (or possibly even ‘cancel’) on regular life for most of the world. Jessica’s baptism into Christ – a rite of passage marking the maturing of a believer’s faith – jolted me into a realisation that the days had begun to stop being long and the years were beginning to be short. 

How do I squeeze the last few moments out of being a dad of young children during a worldwide health crisis? The answer for me was to pack up the family home, and take my wife and three young children on a year-long trip around Australia during 2021.

I’m aware that one day I won’t be around. I think about that reality every time I conduct someone else’s funeral. And I wonder how my kids will remember me in the days and years that follow, and what sort of loving mementos and legacies I shall leave in their lives.

I’m hoping a year together in a tin can of a caravan, travelling the terrors and beauties of this wide brown land, will provide character-shaping experiences and eternal memories. 

The travel days may be long, but this year will be too short.

Three-thousand-year-old Jewish blessing:

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord… Blessed is the parent whose life is filled with them” (as recorded in Psalm #127)


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JOANNE (Wife), with Riley Children: KEA, THEODORE, AND JESSICA


About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and is taking a sabbatical year to drag his family around Australia in a caravan. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series that meanders around a series of subjects pondered and stuff seen. You can subscribe to this blog by clicking “follow”.


  1. God be with you Pastor and your family keep you and protect you and your beautiful family😘l am enjoying reading and catching up with up with all the news, you’re such a brave man dragging your family around the country.They look happy. God bless Pastor and stay safe🥰🙏

    Sent from my iPhone


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