Work, school, soccer practice, appointments, shopping, birthday parties—there always seems to be something out there that can take up your time. And while it can be fun and exciting to stay busy, have you ever wondered, ‘What does it all mean?’
As a parent, a spouse or quite simply as a human being, we must take the time to be intentional with our actions, so we can create meaningful experiences.
Things today are not like they were when you were a kid. Some of that is good. Have family that lives across the country? With the miracle of the Internet, you can stay in touch with them and even speak "face-to-face" any time you like. But of course, there is a downside: With that same technology, many people find themselves isolated from those around them.
Warning: Hard Work Ahead
Perhaps your background is similar to mine. Before cellphones and the Internet, we used to pick up a land line, call a friend and make plans to go spend time together. Or perhaps you didn’t do the planning, but your parents or grandparents did. Every summer, my grandparents took my brother and sister and I to numerous state and county fairs. While that might seem like an outdated way to entertain yourself, the more important thing to consider is this: Each of those trips took time and planning on someone’s part.
Among other things, smartphones have allowed us to be spontaneous. Want to see a movie? Look it up on your phone in 10 seconds or less. Want to go to a store? Speak the name of it to your GPS and you’re on your way! Please understand: smartphones, GPS and technology as a whole are not bad. But the laziness it creates in our lives can be.
When my grandparents took us to the fair, it involved weeks of planning. Reading a paper, looking up what shows might be going on that us kids would like. Coordinating with my parents to make sure we didn’t have plans already. All of this took time. Creating meaningful experiences requires time and intention on our part.
So, how do we create meaningful experiences for our loved ones? Quite simply, the key to creating meaningful experiences with someone is to spend time with them.
It won’t happen overnight. It will take some time to understand what kinds of things are meaningful to those you want to create this experience with. That video game your children play that you hate? Watch them play it. Ask questions about what the objective of the game is and why they enjoy it so much. You might discover that what your child really likes is mystery and intrigue. From there, you might plan out how to spend time sharing a similar, non-digital, experience with them, such as a "who done it" dinner theater, or an escape room. Maybe your spouse enjoys a TV show set in a particular time period. Perhaps for your next anniversary, you can plan a nice getaway to a period themed bed and breakfast they would enjoy.
God designed us to have meaningful relationships with one another. Specifically, He wants us to have meaningful relationships with our children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” God wants us to teach our children about Him and His ways, and He tells us we do it by spending time with them. We can do that when we are on a walk, at the breakfast table, when we go to bed at night—any opportunity we have to spend time with them.
You can have meaningful family experiences. It requires planning, intent and most importantly, time. If we do these things, you can create the life and experience for your family that God intended!