Stewarding Your Family's Time Better

September 29, 2022

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Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello, friends, and welcome to the Foundation Worldview Podcast, where we seek to equip you through answering your questions to get the kids in your care critically evaluating every idea they encounter so they can understand the truth of the Christian worldview.

I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm so excited that you have joined me for today. Now today's question is an interesting one and it's one I've heard before and that I'm so glad that someone asked because I think it's a really, really important one to consider.

And the question is, how do we as parents navigates sports, hobbies, et cetera, to steward our family's time better? Now this is a question that I'm so glad was asked, and I think that the Christian community would be much better off if more people were asking this question because in our culture, especially in the US, there are so many good things that our children can be involved in.

There's so many great schools that they can go to. There's so many different sports programs. There's so many arts programs. There's so many different forms of entertainment. There's so many different things that we can include our kids in to really grow them to be well rounded children.

However, often what happens is we just buy into this idea that we're supposed to sign our kids up for all of these things to try to figure out what they're good at. And before we know it, we're on this hamster wheel where we're just running back and forth between practices and games and rehearsals and this and that.

And we haven't paused to stop and take a step back and evaluate, are these activities what is best for my child? Because some of the most dangerous things to be involved in our lives is when good things take the ultimate place where only God should be.

So the question that I would ask you, or what I would encourage you to do is to just pause with your spouse, if your spouse is a believer, and sit down and talk through what are the top five goals that you have for your child or for your children? What are the top five goals?

And take some time to actually sit down and do this, write these goals out and think through what are these things that we want for these kids that God has placed in our care? Then once you have the goals written out, once you determine them, then ask yourself this question, do these goals align with the biblical command to disciple our children?

Because that's the helpful thing about writing these goals out is we can really look and evaluate this goal right here, does this align with the biblical command to disciple our kids? And then ask yourselves what goals might need to be reprioritized? Okay, what goals should be at the top?

What goals should be number five or maybe even not on the list at all okay? And then determine, okay, what are these goals? When you have them written out it can also be very helpful because it can be something that you can constantly come back and look at in your daily life to say, okay, are these still the goals?

Are these the goals that we should be aiming for? Once you have these goals established, the next thing I would encourage you to do is to actually calculate how is your child's time being spent? How is your child's time being spent? And what I encourage you to do here is to just print off a calendar that has all of the hours.

Okay. From 12:00 AM till 11:59 PM, seven days a week, and actually block off the time. Okay. What amount of time is spent sleeping? Sleeping is important. What amount of time is spent at school? What amount of time is spent on homework? What amount of time is spent on sports? What amount of time is spent on other extracurricular activities?

What amount of time is spent on family devotions? What amount of time is just spent investing in the body of Christ? What amount of time is spent at church? What amount of time is spent serving? Okay, what amount of time is spent cultivating spiritual disciplines? And what I like to do, this might not help you, but what I like to do is I like to actually shade these things in with different colors.

And because when you see the different colors, it suddenly becomes clear how is most of your child's time being spent? And then when you have that out look, okay, and you can actually write down, okay, 50% of their time is spent at school, 25% of their time is spent at soccer games or soccer practice.

And actually calculate the percentages. Then look at the percentages and the time and look at your goals and say, okay, does this percentage of time align with my goals? Because if your child is actually spending 25% of his or her time at soccer practice or at soccer games, does that line up with these top five goals that you have established for your child?

If not, then you might need to reevaluate. Doesn't mean that you need to get rid of soccer altogether, but maybe should you get off of a travel league? Maybe should you just play a rec league? Maybe should you just have your kids just play with kids in the neighborhood? Then also look at blocks of time and look, are there any blocks of time that really don't lead to any of these goals?

And if we have large chunks of time that really don't lead to any of these goals, should we be spending our time in that way? And that's an important thing to think through, especially with schooling. Because if some of your top goals for your child to include their education, you want to make sure that the method of schooling you're using is leading towards that.

But if your top five goals for your children are not academic, if the school you send your child to, if it takes from getting on the bus to getting off of the bus in the afternoon, if it takes up nine and a half hours of your child's time is that really the best way to be investing nine and a half hours, almost 50 hours per week of his or her time?

Or might you need to reevaluate whether or not you use the bus, whether or not that school is the best for your child? Okay. So we want to be just very practical about this and make sure that the way that our children's time is being used actually aligns with these goals. And then we need to ask ourselves what needs to be reprioritized in order to meet these goals?

If we say that our top goal for our children is that they will know and love and trust Jesus and then we spend two hours at church on Sunday and maybe 10 minutes a day doing family devotions, okay, is that three-ish hours a week really going to accomplish this top goal that we have for our children?

Now we know that discipling our children does not just involve reading scripture and praying and being involved in the local body of Christ, okay? It involves how we live our daily lives day in and day out. A biblical worldview should encompass all of reality.

However, if we're wanting our children to be disciples of Jesus and we're only intentionally ushering them into Jesus's presence for less than two hours a week, but we're involving them in academics for 50 plus hours a week and we're involving them in sports for six to eight to 10 hours a week, is our top goal really going to be met?

The answer is clear. No, it's not. And now I know that you might be thinking, oh, Elizabeth, are you kidding me? How am I going to reprioritize my life in these drastic ways? One step at a time. One step at a time.

Because research shows that what we're doing currently to disciple the next generation is not leading to a thriving robust faith and an anchoring in the biblical worldview where our children view all of life through the lens of scripture.

And I think that when we look at our goals and compare our time to that, we're going to really see where the disconnect is. And this is really important. This is something we can even do for ourselves as adults. I just recently did this in my own life.

In running Foundation Worldview, I wanted to make sure that the time I was investing in this job was actually meeting the goals that we had set as a company for equipping adults to get the next generation understanding the truth of the Christian worldview. So I sat down with my team and what did we do?

We looked at the company's goals and then we looked at my schedule. And we wrote down, okay, what are the ways in which I'm spending my time each and every day? And we mapped that out. And then I was able to look at, okay, these ways that I'm spending my time, are they actually aligning and meeting these goals?

And then I did that for my personal life as well, because sometimes in the evening I might like to watch a show. And as long as the material in that show is not contradictory to the biblical worldview, there's nothing wrong with that, that relaxing can be a good thing.

But I wanted to make sure, am I investing too much time in that form of entertainment? Because I don't need an hour of entertainment each day. A half hour is more than sufficient. So we need to make sure that we're evaluating, okay, how is our kids' time being used? How is our time being used?

And does it align with these goals that we should have? Now you may be wondering, but what about rest, Elizabeth? Isn't rest important? Yes, rest is important. God has made that clear in his word. How did God design our schedules to go? Six days we shall labor, one day we shall rest as unto the Lord. That's how God designed things.

However, one thing we need to be aware of is our culture often confuses or conflates rest with amusement, okay? Amusement means, A means without, and muse means to think. So amusement means without thinking. Now turning our minds off is not necessarily true rest because we're not necessarily being renewed in the spirit of our minds as we're commanded to do in scripture.

So I think we need to think through, okay, what is true rest? Could it involve watching a movie? Yeah, it could. Should that be our only form of rest? Absolutely not. We need to think through, okay, how can we involve our family in activities that are going to provide true rest?

Activities where we're actually connecting with God, activities where we're purposely out in nature. Nature is God's natural revelation. It's one of the two main ways in which he has revealed himself to us as humans. So are we actually spending time outside enjoying God's creation, marveling in it, seeing a more clear picture of who he is and his grand design?

Are we doing things where we're actually building relationship with one another? Because as God's image bearers, we have a need for relationship. And why is this? Because we image God. God is triune. God is Father, God is Son, and God is Holy Spirit.

And the three persons of the Trinity have been in perfect loving fellowship for all eternity. God himself is relational. And as his image bearers, we need relationship. So when all we're doing is watching a movie, and again, there's nothing inherently wrong with every once in a while watching a movie or watching a show.

But when all we're doing is amusement and staring at a screen, we're not developing any relationship with one another, and we're starving ourselves of that connection.

So we need to make sure that when we include rest in our family schedule, that we're thinking through, okay, how are we making sure that we are actually resting and not merely amusing ourselves?

So I would just encourage you to make sure that your times of rest are genuine times of rest. Time when you as a family are communing with God, you're communing with one another, you're spending time out in nature, you're building relationship.

Make sure that your times of rest are true times of rest. Again, just encourage everyone to really think through this question. Okay, what are the goals that we have for the children God has placed in our care? How is our time being spent?

Does that time accurately reflect meeting those goals? And then how do we purposely schedule in times of rest so that we're making sure that we're being renewed in the spirit of our minds so that we can love and glorify God on a daily basis?

Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast. As you move on from here, it's my prayer that God will continue to bless you as you intentionally disciple the children he has placed in your care. I'll see you next time.

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