936. 819. Marbles.

by geoffrey, April 24, 2013 OC13, RP Orange Blog 1

The day that my daughter was born, I had 936 weeks to spend with her until she graduates high school. I had 936 weeks to teach her about Jesus. I had 936 weeks to convince her that she was made in the image of the creator of the universe.

My daughters’ two-year-old birthday was a couple of weeks ago. I now have 819 weeks until she graduates. 819 weeks to tell her about Jesus. 819 weeks to convince her she was made in the image of the creator of the universe.

“When you see the time that you have left, you value the time you have now”  – Reggie Joiner

Tonight at the Opening Night Session of the Orange Conference 2013, Reggie Joiner did a phenomenal job setting the stage for the rest of the conference. He told a story of something that he used to do with his church when he was a Families Pastor that I thought was unbelievable. He would give parents a jar full of 936 marbles, and would encourage them to take a marble out every week until their child graduates (usually around 936 weeks from when they are born). It allowed parents to better see that their time of influence over their kids is temporary.

“When we understand how much time we have left with our kids, we begin to make what matters, matter more.” – Reggie Joiner

As parents, we don’t have an infinite amount of time to influence our kids. Statistically, our influence over our kids dramatically changes once they graduate high school. There are so many things that we want to impart to our kids before they go off into the “real world.” We want them to know about school, dating, how to be an adult, jobs, Jesus, etc. One thing that we too often forget is that our time of influence has an end date.

Usually thinking about the end date makes us sad or worried, but what it should do is remind us to be intentional. We are called to intentionally parent our kids. Intentionally train them. Intentionally love them. Intentionally encourage them. Intentionally be Jesus to them. Stuff like that doesn’t actually happen by accident.

Parents tend to micromanage parenting. They let their kids coaches teach them about discipline. Let the school systems teach them about hard work. Let the church teach them about Jesus. There is only one problem with that, it doesn’t work. You know why? Parents can better teach their kids about discipline, hard work, Jesus, etc.

We are only given a finite amount of time to fully influence our kids, and the only way that is going to happen effectively is if we begin to intentionally parent them. So, I have a challenge for you: Today, intentionally encourage your child. Let them know you’re proud of them, or you’re thankful for them. Don’t get discouraged that your time with your child is not infinite; just use 936, 819, and marbles to remind you that you are the most important influencer in the life of your child.

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Geoffrey is a Youth Pastor in Abilene, TX. He enjoys writing, baseball, reading, and traveling. He is married to Sarah and they have two beautiful daughters.

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  1. El Burrojoe says: May 27, 2013

    My fear is that many parents are wondering how quickly they can run down the clock.

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