How fitting that my first TIME (The Intentional Mealtime Experience) post would be on time itself? Ironic! Brian did this little experience with our kids (and me!) and it was powerful. Here’s how he did it:
After dinner we all sat around the table and Brian got out a huge bowl of Sour Patch Kids (he bought a large bag that day just for this). The kids went crazy, begging for some. He told them to wait, there was a lesson to go with them and they would be enjoying them in a minute. Patience, grasshoppers.
He gave us a sheet of paper and had us write down one or two things we wanted this school year and one or two things we wanted to do this school year. We took some time to write down the answers, then went around the table and shared. The kids had fun with this! Some honorable mentions: better grades, new gaming system, camera, food processor, be better at soccer and volleyball.
He shared this quote: “Who you are today isn’t who you will be in the future. But what you do today will determine who you will be in the future” (That’s a Brian Goins original!). We talked about what that meant and then had the two older kids read these passages (If your children can’t read, you can read the verses to them.): Psalm 90:12 and Ephesians 5:15-16 (we have Bibles that are all the same version in a basket in the kitchen. We also let the kids us iPads or phones at times).
Ask these questions (from Psalm 90:12):
What does it mean to number our days? (To be aware that our lives are short)
How could that give us a heart of wisdom? (we will make better choices, etc.)
(from Ephesians 5:15-16):
How should we look at how we walk? (Look carefully)
How can we make the most of our time? (not waste it; be more aware of how we spend it)
Why should we make the best use of our time? (the days are evil and we want to do good)
Encourage discussion on any and all of this!
Brain talked about how we all have the same amount of time, but we all must choose wisely as to how to use it. He then produced a copy of all the Netflix hours we had watched individually and as a family over the past month. Youch. Now, it was summer vacation, but still. I feel like we don’t watch that much TV, but seeing the hours we spent on Netflix was a little unsettling. He kept it light and we didn’t come down on the kids at all. In fact, he kind of joked about it and we all laughed and blamed it on being summer and all. And, let’s face it, the kids weren’t watching Parenthood 2-3 times a week. That was me. Oops.
(You can choose to do this step or not. This took some time and isn’t necessary to make the point. You could simply talk about ways your family may “waste” time)
He then turned to the Sour Patch Kids. He talked about how treats like Sour Patch Kids are good and fine if kept in moderation. But if we ate the whole bowl, our stomachs would hurt and our tongues would be sore from all the sour and sweet. Of course the kids insisted that they could eat the whole bowl, no problem, but again, we laughed about that and kept it fun. Then we allowed the kids to enjoy a few of the treats. In moderation, of course!
Brian wrapped up our time by saying that many things we do are good (sports, TV, video games, movies), but in large quantities they become a problem and ultimately can keep us from the best things in our lives. He reminded us of the lists he had just made us write out and said if we worked and planned, we could probably have and do some of the things on the lists. But sitting and watching Netflix would not produce better grades or good soccer skills.
We prayed together as a family, asking God to help us make the most of our time.