Slow Down Time…
Last night KATV news ran the first of a three part series about the busyness of families today. The article, as well as the rest of the series, can be seen on the nightly news at 10pm tonight and tomorrow here (http://katv.com/news/local/how-much-is-too-much-ar-families-talk-about-extra-curriculars). In light of graduation season and our upcoming promotion Sunday on June 5th, I want to take a moment and share some reminders about the value and importance of time and especially for families today.
The news special talks about the ramifications of busy family schedules today ranging from, physical, time constraints, as well as financial aspects. The writer makes some extremely valid points concerning all three and I would encourage you to both read and watch it. But, I would also like to highlight the spiritual side as well. We have a limited amount of time on this earth and we cannot gain or lose any of what we are given. We can only invest and enjoy the moments God blesses us to be a part of each day, week, month and year.
I recently was able to grab ahold of an amazing illustration of this very notion. I have in my office a bag of 936 marbles, that is precisely the number of weeks that any given family has from the time a child is born to the time they turn 18 years of age and enter “adulthood”. If you were to empty the marbles into a clear container and remove one for each week that passes and place it back into the bag, you would visually be able to see the dwindling amount of time a family has with a child. At first it may seem as though there are plenty of marbles in the jar, but it is quite startling as time progresses how much faster the marbles seem to be escaping the jar. Honestly if we appeased our selfish appetites we would like to skip a week or two or twenty and hold onto that precious child/children as long as we possibly can. However, we know the fallacy of this thought. We cannot slow down time, it progresses precisely as God intends and all that we can do is to make each week, each moment count.
I recently had the privilege of attending my daughter’s elementary school graduation. The speaker for the children was the graduating valedictorian of Sylvan Hills High School. She made one remarkable statement that I know resonated with me and I pray it did with the parents and students overflowing the room that day. “Make the most of every moment,” she said. “Make mistakes and move on, try new things, never regret trying something new, if it does not work then keep trying and never give up.” As parents, grandparents and families today, we need to be trying new things, make the most of every moment and if it does not work then we do not need to give up. We do not need to stress over past failures or mistakes or even fret about tomorrow, but we need to enjoy each hour, minute, moment, month and even year God gives us.
You may have heard us use the expression or equation 1/168 before here at Faith. That is representative of the amount of time the average family spends in church each week. One hour a week is simply not enough to make an impact on the lives of children and families today. It is the responsibility of the church to equip families for the other 167 hours they are inevitably going to encounter each and every week for the 936 weeks and beyond. Our staff at Faith likes to take that one step further and look at the breakdown of how an average week works out. On any given week a family could spend as much as four-eight hours in church or church related communities. That leaves 50 hours per week for school/work functions on average. The overwhelming remainder of the time is spent at home or normal life functions, 110 hours per week on average.
When we look at the week in this way we are able to see the value and importance of life at home. If you have 936 weeks in the life of a child and 110 hours per week, albeit some of that is spent sleeping, so for conservative estimating purposes we will say 50 hours a week to invest in the life of your family before they are gone. That gives you 50,940 hours to make a lasting impact. Again that seems large until time progresses and those hours seem to move quicker than they once did, they are not by the way, there are just less of them (remember the marbles in the jar).
So, what are you doing with that time? If your kids never miss a practice or rehearsal but church attendance is optional or occasional what will your family grow up prioritizing? If dinner is done on the fly more than at the table, will your children grow up to prioritize time and busyness or value family time? I recently had the opportunity to talk to a high school teacher and she shared with me a statistic about students who received National Merit Scholarships. In spite of diverse upbringings, social or various economic factors the only common denominator among recipients was that they grew up in a household that had a family meal time, together around a table 5 out of 7 nights a week growing up. That is time well invested.
Craig Groeschel recently said that the key to effective time management is not in scheduling your time, but rather scheduling your values. Place in high priority on your schedule the things you value most and then let the times fall where they may. Take a review of your weekly schedule and see how you spend your time. Whether you are a parent, single or married, grandparent, or children’s worker here at Faith, this generation is in need of an example of prioritizing, valuing and investing time.