Time. We know a lot about time. It flies. It heals. Time is short. You only have a very measured amount of it. One thing is for certain in the world of preschoolers: time doesn’t stop. We live in a world that is on the fast-track. Marketing companies have convinced us that the best products are the fastest. We expect instant response and immediate results. The concept of value developing over a period of time is lost. From that, the concept of investing over time is being lost as well.
But the investment of time is necessary if we want our few to embrace what we are teaching them. Preschoolers, probably more than any other age have little time outside of Sunday that you can easily “be present”. Many are not yet involved in organized sports or other outside activities where you can show up unexpectedly. Your time with them needs to be focused and purposeful.
One of the most defining quotes from Reggie Joiner’s newest book, “Playing For Keeps” is:
“When you see how much time you have left, you tend to do more with the time you have now.”
When we are able to visualize time, we are more able to use it effectively. Here are the practical ideas that the book suggests:
Count It Down:
“When you add a countdown clock to any game, competition or exercise, it affects behavior.” The time you have with your few each week is short to begin with and you are losing it quickly. Make a visual to remind yourself of the number of Sundays that you have left together.
A jar of marbles, bubble gum balls, or Skittles, like the book suggests, is a great visual to put on your desk to keep the passing of time fresh in your mind.
You can schedule an “event” in your cellphone each Friday to remind you that one more of those weekends is about to happen. When that event reminder “pops up” on your screen each week, take time to pray for the time you will have with your few.
Measure It Out
Look for the rhythm of the week of your preschoolers. Beyond Sundays, when during the week will they have activities where you can connect? If there are not activities that you can attend, where can you connect?
Talk with the parents of your few and schedule a day that you will send a text that the parents can share with their child. For example, you can have “Wonderful Wednesday” when you will send each family a text telling each child what you think is wonderful about him. Your few, along with their parents, will begin to look forward to Wednesdays, knowing that your text will be there.
Mark It Up (calendar days)
Making history with your few is as easy as making memories with them each week. Look for opportunities in your calendar to make special memories. Obvious dates will stand out like birthdays, upcoming holidays and the changing of seasons. Make a calendar specifically for your few. Mark these dates and make a point to celebrate these weeks. By having them written on a calendar, you can see if you have a blank week or two. If this happens, find something to celebrate. One of the most fun aspects of serving with little ones is their ability to imagine. They will gladly celebrate anything. The leaves are falling or the snow is melting. You just have to tell them what the celebration is all about!This extra attention to a detail in their week will make a treasure chest of memories that over time will become a history they will treasure.