How We Spend Our Time

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I turned 63 recently, and as you can imagine, birthdays at this age have me thinking of time in a different way. Obviously, none of us know how much longer we’re going to live, but given my family medical history and the numbers I get at my doctor’s appointments, it’s possible that I could live to be 90 years old. I’m not guaranteeing that or anything, but I find that projecting that out can be a helpful exercise. Knowing that we don’t have unlimited time here on earth can really help sharpen our focus when it comes to what is truly important.

And I know that my biggest values are my family and my Christian faith. I want to spend the next thirty years (or however many I have remaining) investing primarily in those two things. It is important to me that I do all I can to faithfully serve God and live according to His principles. I also want to invest in my family. And like many of you, that group keeps getting bigger! There are a lot of people and moving pieces there. There’s my wife Jane, our four adult kids plus their spouses and significant others, and eight grandkids ranging in age from a few months old to eleven years old.

As you can imagine, that means I have a lot of opportunities to spend time with and invest in relationships with family! Sometimes that looks like babysitting or going to watch a youth soccer game. Other times, it means hosting family dinners for everybody or reaching out to check on one person individually. As a husband, parent, and grandparent, I have lots of chances to spend my time prioritizing family.

Your situation may be similar to mine, or your circumstances might be very different. Either way, it’s important to remember that we’re all setting an example for our kids and grandkids by how we spend our time. Our children watch how we’re living our lives—even our adult children. For parents, we often think that the words we say are the most important thing. We think we can tell our kids the right answer to a specific problem or situation. However, I think far more often, our kids are looking and evaluating what we’re really like by asking, “What are they actually doing with their time and their lives?”

The truth is that our time and energy are our most precious resources. How we choose to spend them says a lot about what we value. I don’t mean that in a judgmental way; I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t or can’t have time to yourself or enjoy your own hobbies. I am aware that everybody’s circumstances are different. If you have to work long hours to pay the bills or have health issues that deplete your energy or mental clarity, please don’t see this as a guilt-inducing thing. You alone know your capacity and what you can give when it comes to time and energy.

No matter the challenges and other things demanding our time and energy, our kids and grandkids need us to be there for them. That engagement will look different at different stages of their lives, but they’ll always need some input and wisdom from us. When we find time and ways to connect, we’ll be winning more often at home.