My daughter is six now, and like most kids her age, every commercial she sees or toy aisle she passes is followed by an emotional plea for something new. No whining or acting out, just enough sweet little girl voice and bottom lip to make most dads cave. Realizing that giving in would quickly lead to a spoiled child, it was time to teach her about what it meant to earn money and how to manage it.
My wife and I decided on the classic chore chart and weekly allowance. The jobs were well within her abilities and the promise of three dollars per week was enough to excite her while simplifying a basic lesson we intended to teach: save one, give one, spend one. It's a simple concept that teaches kids how to save for the future, give a portion of what they've been given, and still have a little spending money to use as they please.
One particularly exhausting weekend as I was contemplating her allowance and thinking about the save, give, spend lesson, I had a realization.
Lately, it seems that busy weeks have ended with even busier weekends. It's all good stuff like hanging out with friends, working on projects, serving at church. But the problem is that it was becoming a bit much, leaving us exhausted going into the next week. Our obligations were not leaving us enough time to rest and connect as a family.
It struck me that the same basic money principle applies very well to how we should spend our time.
Spending all of your time on things you like to do is the equivalent of my daughter blowing her whole allowance on candy. Spending all of our time on the stuff we like (passions, hobbies or rest) may feel good at first but will end up leaving you feeling a little empty.
Investing all of your time with friends is also great at first, but will eventually put a strain on your family and your health leaving no time for relaxation and fulfillment found in hobbies and rest.
Similarly, giving all of your time to service or volunteering, while also incredibly satisfying, will leave you without ample time to to connect with those you love and will lead to burnout.
Our time is meant to be spent in balance. We are designed to have deep friendships, but not at the expense of our rest or our interests. We are called to serve, but not at the expense of investing in our family. Hobbies are fun, and rest is necessary, but not at the risk of becoming selfish.
Each time I give my daughter her allowance, the lesson I'll review about saving, spending and giving will serve as a great reminder.
Step back from the busyness of life this weekend and take a personal inventory of your time. Are your "spending" habits in balance?