Friday, August 12, 2011

Too Small to Ignore – Chapter 5

Today’s thoughts come from Juli….


I love this book, and chapter five is one of my favorites (although there are several). It begins with a profound observation:

"Children get the short end of the stick in nearly all areas of life -- except one...They have as much time as anyone else." Dr. Wess Stafford, Too Small to Ignore, pg. 79

It's true. Just think about it; while parents think they have NO time on their hands whatsoever, children have ALL the time in the world! Or at least they could, if their parents were not trying to schedule every minute for them. Let's think about this.

I read somewhere that when the Bible says, "There should be time no longer" (Rev. 10:6, KJV), it can literally be translated "There is no time." Although I believe this verse refers to no more delay to God's judgment, the thought of having "no time" certainly certainly does describe our times, doesn't it?

"Having packed their own lives full, many parents proceed to do the same with their children. The week becomes a blur of school, sports practices, music lessons, and -- soon enough -- part-time jobs." Ibid, pg. 80

My mother was forced to work hard as a child, doing odd jobs around home and town for her parents and aunt. She swore that she would not make us work like that, and she didn't. I spent most of my high school and college years just being a teenager and enjoying time with my family and friends. When I did work a little in the summers, it was a flexible schedule that was not too heavy for me. I'm so thankful for those memorable years!

"Young people simply were not made to be the fulfillment machines of adult wishes. They need time to breathe, to imagine, to wonder, and simply to relax. This is not to condone laziness or inactivity in front of a television for hours on end. But a key part of growing up needs to be living at a reasonable pace." Ibid, pg. 80-81

I observed several bullet points in Dr. Stafford's book regarding "What Children Need" and this is the first: Freedom from drivenness, time pressure and hurry. (more of these are outlined at the beginning of Chapter 7).

I love the story of the African chief's lesson regarding the river on pages 82-87. What a wise man, and I love the gentle and natural way that he shared a truth about time pressure!

"Because they strain to see around the bend of the river, the present nearly knocks them down as it swirls around their knees." Ibid, pg. 85


A river is an excellent way to describe time -- it goes around a bend and we can't see what is ahead, but we know that God can see it. Recently, I stood on the top of Miller Butte in the elk refuge of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was beautiful to look down upon the winding river! This was a very small one, but it does illustrate the bends and curves of our lives, and how little we know about the future.

That is why it comes down to TRUST, which has been my "Word of the Year" for 2011.


I can't begin to express how much I have learned about trust this year, and how much I've grown in this area. I used to have a lot of anxiety about my children and their futures, but that stress is completely gone now, thanks to God!

"When the passing of time for us and our children is centered on God, he removes the strain. We know that he is directing us, he is in charge, and that is enough. We can breathe deeply and enjoy the journey. Children will not learn this pace or perspective from uptight, driven adults. They will only gain its benefits as we show them how to be still and know that he is God. He knows what lies around the bend." -- Ibid, pg. 90

Finally, one more quote needs to be repeated from this wise African chief's lesson:

"The present is all we can fully know and experience, so we must. We must love each other. We must smell the hibiscus flowers. We must taste with joy the honey and the peanut sauce on the rice. We must laugh and cry and live." Ibid, pg. 86

If you were to paraphrase that statement for your own family's life, how would it read?

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