Monthly Archives: June 2011

Time and Money

I have a free hour now so I will share my thoughts about time and money. They say, “It’s not how much money you make that matters; it’s how much you keep”. They also say, “We all have about the same amount of time; what’s important is how you use it”. We adults always think we don’t have enough time or money.

A kid doesn’t worry about time or money. Kids live in the moment, and they use the resources they have. Kids’ time is frequently unstructured, and they spend it freely on things that delight them, nourish them, teach them, all without worrying where the next batch is coming from or how much of it there will be.

Years ago it was springtime in my second-grader son’s classroom. In typical adult fashion, we had all recently moved our clocks ahead one hour. (Time Lost!)  My son’s teacher thought she would use this adult-contrived event to teach a lesson. I imagine she tried to convey why we adults perform this crazy ritual every spring and then reverse it every fall. (Think of the collective time we’ve all wasted over the years setting and resetting all our clocks). I imagine she asked, “Children, what happens to the hour that we lose every year in the spring?” I’m sure the kids must have thought, “What is this woman talking about? We barely even know how to tell time by the clock. We prefer to measure time by how many frogs we can catch before dinner.” (Of course, they think these thoughts using smaller words and substitute “lighting bottle rockets” for “catching frogs”).

Eventually the teacher’s blathering translates to an assignment (Work, Yuck!) and the students must write a story about the lesson learned. My son’s essay became my all-time favorite poem. He brought home his story in eight-year old scrawl. I read it, shocked. I then typed it, recasting it as a poem with some sensible line breaks, while exactly preserving his words. I added a title and mailed it to a local newspaper, where it was published and earned him two free movie tickets. Here’s the poem:

Daylight Savings Space-Time

Where does daylight savings time go in the spring?
Does it go into space,
Where a space creature finds it,
And asks its mother
To go swimming for an hour
With its friends?
And she says “yes”
In alien talk.

I think that’s a great poem, full of simple truth, philosophy and fun–and no worries. I often think of it and recite it out loud when I think I have neither enough time nor money.

Okay, it didn’t take me an entire hour to write this, but I’m not counting. What will you do with that next “free” hour that pops into your life? You could schedule it on some work activity. You could use it to fret about not having enough hours, or you could frivolously spend it by spending money that you should maybe keep instead.

I believe I’d go swimming.