Introduction for Parents
Since the girls were quite small, we have tried to teach them to be good stewards of their money. A few years back, God showed me that He was just as concerned with how we steward another commodity—our time. He has given us the precious gift of 24 hours to spend each day. Truly our time is not our own. When we choose to follow Christ as Lord, we also choose to surrender everything we have to our Savior—our time, talent, money, dreams, future. As parents, it is our responsibility to help our children make wise, God-honoring choices about how to use their time.
This brief lesson is designed to be used with children ages 8-14 years old. I believe it will be most effective when you make it your own by using personal examples or applications to your own family.
Many people use a budget to help them plan what to do with the money God has given them. God wants us to be responsible with what He gives us. People make budgets to determine how much money to tithe, give, spend, save, and invest based on their priorities.
In the same way, God wants us to be responsible with the 24 hours that He gives us each day. A schedule helps us budget our time and determine how to use the minutes and hours of the day based on our priorities. Neither a budget nor a schedule is a permanent law set in stone. Both can be adjusted temporarily or revised, if necessary, so you may want to write in pencil so you can easily make changes. Print this schedule worksheet and use it to make your own schedule. Here are some ideas of what to include on your schedule:
A tithe means, “tenth.” In the book of Genesis, Abraham gave God a tenth of his possessions. The Bible doesn’t ask us to give a tithe of our time, but the same principle works. All of our time belongs to God, but He asks us to spend it in certain ways. God desires us to spend time in church with our Christian family celebrating our God. God also desires that we have a “date” with him, spending time in His presence praying and hearing His voice. Most of us aren’t spending a tithe of our hours with God, but God hasn’t required that of us. He wants us to regularly spend time with Him and with His people.
On your schedule: Label blocks when you are at church for worship service, Sunday School, or other activities, including travel time. Also label blocks for family worship or devotions.
When we make choices about what to do and how long to do it, we are spending time. When we aren’t doing anything or just playing outside, we are still spending time. A schedule is helpful because it keeps us focused and accountable to do what is most important. Some things on a schedule are necessities, like going to school, doing homework, doing chores, participating in activities, or even daily hygiene. When you’re an adult you’ll have other necessities on your schedule like work, laundry, or homeschooling your children. On your schedule: Label blocks for daily hygiene, chores, school, and any activities (ex. sports, dance, music lessons) you participate in. Ask your parents to help you determine how many blocks to label for sleep.
God has promised to provide for our needs and often He provides more than we need. Sometimes God gives us abundance to bless us and other times God provides extra so we can give to others. God’s Word says to “consider one another’s interests ahead of your own.” (Phil. 2:10) Our priorities should not focus only on ourselves. God desires that His children live as a family by sharing, giving, and preferring each other. He also commands us to feed the hungry and care for those in need. At this stage of your life, you probably don’t have a lot of money to give, but you can give your time.
Talk with your parents about the opportunities available in your church and community and how you might be able to serve as a family. Babysit for free for a family in the church or neighborhood. Some communities have soup kitchens or distribute food through the local Food Bank. Some churches have a ministry to the elderly who aren’t able to come to church. Volunteer to serve in the children’s department at church so parents can be in service. Pray with your parents about what would be the best option for you and your family. On your schedule: Label blocks on your schedule for the area(s) that you plan to give your time.
Time is a limited commodity. You may get a raise and make more money, but no one on this earth can make more time. The only way to have more time is to use it more efficiently. Believe it or not, there are companies hired for the specific purpose of saving people time. These companies collect and analyze information about how people use their time and then make recommendations for how the time could be used more efficiently.
You don’t have to hire a company to save time. Take a good look at your schedule to find ways to save time and conserve motion. For instance, it is probably a better use of your time to do all of your chores in one block of time than to do chores in short segments throughout the day. Before you start school or homework, sharpen a pencil, gather your books, notebooks and any other supplies you’ll need. This will help you work with fewer interruptions. Taking your dishes to the sink after a meals takes less time and energy than leaving the table and then going back to get your dishes. At the end of the day, hang up your clothes if they’re clean or put them wherever you keep your dirty clothes. This takes less time and energy than putting your clothes on the floor and later picking them up and putting them away.
One of the most effective ways to save time is to stay organized. When everything has a home, it is easier to put things away and locate them when you need them. This will eliminate or at least decrease the time you spend searching for something you need. You can save minutes a day by changing some habits and being organized. On your schedule: You can’t really label a block for saving time, but you can consider the suggestions above and choose one or two that you will add to your schedule. If you are challenged in the area of organization, you may want to add a block or two of time to work on organizing one area of your life—school, room, closet, or other area.
You may be familiar with the word margin from assignments you’ve had in school. Margin is the white space around the words on a page--basically the space that isn’t occupied. Margins are important in writing because they allow people to easily read the content on the page. If every space is filled, it would be confusing. The same holds true for your schedule. It must have some margin, unoccupied space, in case something unexpected happens or you just need some time to relax. Margin also allows you to do your best without feeling rushed and pressured to move on to the next thing.
Take a look at your schedule. If all of your blocks are filled, you need to make some adjustments and find some margin. Talk with your parents about what might need to be adjusted or eliminated. You may want to add margin or overestimate travel time to allow for the possibility of traffic and still arrive on time at your destination.
If all of your blocks aren’t filled, that’s ok! The goal isn’t to fill all of the boxes. The goal is to make time for all of the things that are valuable to God and to you. Any square that isn’t filled is like having extra spending money. Ask God to show what to do with your extra time. On your schedule: Label any margin blocks. Make adjustments to your schedule, as needed. You may have empty blocks that you’ll fill in the future.
Making the schedule was the easy part; now you need to fine tune it. Live with the schedule and see what works and what doesn’t work. If you’re feeling rushed in some area, try to shift the schedule a bit to make a little more time. (You can divide the blocks to make smaller segments.) If you consistently finish an activity with time to spare, you may want to shorten the block of time for that particular activity. Activities may come and go. Use your schedule to help you avoid the overcommittment syndrome—having more activities than you have hours in the day.
One schedule doesn’t last forever. It is helpful to start with a new worksheet at least once a year and make a new schedule. Take time to reevaluate priorities as well as the amount of time spent in each activity. No matter how old you are, a schedule can help you be more productive and focused in what God has called you to do.