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Time for Fooling Around and Other Priorities

Sometimes I stop and think, how does he/she have the time? Bonnie Miller reported a story yesterday in the Chicago Tribune about freshman college orientation. It’s been over ten years since we packed our four kids off to college and times have changed. Parents are more involved in their kid’s lives and many colleges offer two- or three-day orientation programs that include Mom and Dad. How can so many people spare the time?

A very close friend of mine is getting a divorce. Her husband of twenty-nine years has been having a long-standing love affair and he wants out. This man runs his own business, attends every family function, and all social engagements. He coached his son’s sports team each season and never missed his daughter’s dance recitals or choir performances. When did he find the time to cheat on his wife?

I have always admired teachers and others who manage to wrangle a sabbatical from their employer. A long getaway from work is uncommon in the business world. But in the educational communities, it’s fairly routine to take time off to learn, do research or write a book. This past Sabbath my husband David and I took my father-in-law to synagogue. David’s dad is someone who can be called a “tough old bird.” He’s blind from macular degeneration and has Parkinson’s disease, but he doesn’t miss a thing. “Where’s the rabbi?” he asked. I told him that our rabbi is on sabbatical in Israel for the summer. “And you pay her while she’s not working?” I explained that learning is part of her work so she can teach us more. I proudly told him that she’s a renowned author; God Whispers, Dance of the Dolphins, Bridge to Forgiveness. “And nobody minds when she gets paid for not working?” He remains unconvinced.

Every generation seems to see the values of the next generation through a different lens. For my father-in-law, remembering the depression left him with a work ethic that put financial security above all else. My generation, the baby boomers, made it a priority to work a little less and attend more of our kid’s sporting events and school programs. I can see how my daughter’s generation will have even more time to put family first. Her job with an advertising agency gives her five weeks of paid vacation a year plus seventeen paid holidays and unlimited paid sick days. 

I like the direction we’re headed. Technology and telecommuting gives me the flexibility to take my mother to the doctor in the middle of a workday and I don’t miss a phone call. Prayables webmaster Ed, created our Web site, keeps up with thousands of pages of code and turned a concept into a movement. He does all this and more, while being a stay-at-home dad to his six-year-old son, Ben. It’s easy to know your priorities; it’s hard to find the time to live them.

Here’s some inspiration for living your priorities:


I can do it all; I’ve got lists.
Yet, why do I sometimes forget to talk to You?
Were You not on my list?

Help me to keep You at the top of my list,
to keep my priorities in line:
You, family, friends, community, career.
Help me remember, I cannot
always do it all, only You can.
Help me to do whatever I do
with You ever most in my mind.

I trust You to help me navigate
these hot springs of my life.

Transport me to my next stage,
where I will prosper and grow,
with your guidance and love.

I trust You to get me through.
Yes, this hot flash—and all the others—shall pass.

—Karen Laven