“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you,” by Carl Sandburg.
I once read a book that talked about our life being units of energy. It spoke about how we all have a certain amount of those units and we, for the most part, determine how we will spend those units. The message was really the same as Carl Sandburg’s: ‘our time is valuable.’
I just celebrated another birthday. I certainly think more about those units of energy these days, and the idea that those units are precious and limited. God only knows how many I have left, but suffice it to say I’m not wanting to waste any.
I came up with a list of five categories of how I wanted to spend my precious time in order to have a more intentional and purposeful life. The first thing on my list is to spend more time doing what is good for me.
Since the very first step to changing behavior is awareness, let me ask you how good of a job are you doing at that these days? Do you spend your precious units of energy taking care of yourself; eating lots of nutritious foods and frequently being engaged in improving your physical, psychological and mental health?
And that question brings me to another one. How good of a job are we doing at making sure our children are spending their precious time engaged in doing what is good for them?
I was frankly shocked to hear the latest data coming from the Nielsen Company, on a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. They found today’s kids are spending an average of seven hours and 38 minutes a day engaged in media consumption: television, video games, computers, etc.
On a recent NPR Science Friday program, scientist Scott Samson mentioned a statistic that made me go home and pull the show’s manuscript up, to make sure I had heard him correctly.
He said our children are spending 90 percent less time outdoors than their parents did growing up. Another study done in Australia of nearly 1,400 kids found that 37 percent of them typically spent a half-hour or less being active outside. That’s less than 30 minutes a day, folks!
Current research about health and outdoor activity only underscores what most of us already know; that less indoor media and more outdoor play is what is most beneficial for our children.
We don’t really need more research to persuade us of what we already know. What is best for our children is lots of physical activity, good, healthy food, plenty of rest and a limited amount of television, video and computer games.
Time, like that precious coin, is not to be wasted. We don’t have to be at retirement age to understand its value. Let’s not only invest more of that time in doing what’s good for us, but let’s also see to it that our children are doing the same.
Karen Spencer can be reached at Karen.Spencer@azwestern.edu or visit smallsteps4bigresults.blogspot.com.