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Group Blogging Project: Too Small To Ignore – Chapter 5 – “Time: A River Runs Through It”

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by FABIOLA MEDEIROS)

For more info on what this group blogging project on the book Too Small To Ignore, read this.

Review of Chapter 5, “Time: A River Runs Through It”
by Lorraine Seamans

Young children are unique in their ability to appreciate the uniqueness of every moment. They possess no palm pilots, iphones or digital watches that require them to track every moment of the day. They’re perfectly content to spend their days in play, not worried about much beyond who’s turn it is to be “it.” They choose, without conscious thought, to appreciate each day for the gift it is.

Their parents, on the other hand, have lives scheduled right down to the very last minute. And are driven, with increasing regularity, to over-schedule their children’s days just as fully. School, year round organized sports, travel teams, dance lessons, music lessons, extra-curricular tutoring – any activity to provide their children with yet another ‘advantage.’ While none of these things are inherently bad, the pace at which they occur, and the pressure that sometimes accompanies them, can create unnecessary conflict for children and their parents.

In Chapter 5, Dr. Wes Stafford does a thorough job addressing the current state of the over-scheduled American child and clearly presenting the need for growing up while living at a reasonable pace. He shares anecodotes of his experience as a young missionary child in Africa and the valuable wisdom learned from his father and the tribal chief.

He tells the story of an uncomfortable interaction between the village elders and French Bureaucrats conducting a government survey, blasting questions concerning the villagers ‘expectations of the future.’ The elders were unable to answer the questions, as the future was not yet here and questions such as these would answer themselves when the time came. The bureaucrats were incredibly frustrated by the ‘resistant and uncooperative’ responses and the interaction ended badly.

That evening the chief addresses the village, speaking directly to the children present. He presents an analogy in which he compares time to a river. The present will flow by and become the past and the future, like a bend in the river, is unseen and not known to us. He emphasizes two points:

  1. Live today completely. It is important in its own right.
  2. Tomorrow lies in the hands of God. Therefore, we do not need to be restless about it.

Dr. Stafford effectively communicates that time must not be allowed to dicate to us. In this, as in all things, Jesus serves as our role model. When Lazarus was seriously ill, Jesus did not rush to return to his side. He kept His focus on His purpose and continued to move at the deliberate, intentional pace that characterized His entire approach to life and ministry.

Children will learn this quiet, disciplined approach to time from adults who know how to be still and to know that He is God.

As Dr. Stafford states so eloquently on page 89, “If we are not attuned to the divine rythym as we move through our lives, we will miss the richness of today as well as the potential of tomorrow.”


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