One Monday, in the midst of a highly important, time-sensitive writing project, I received a phone call from one of our daughters. Her daughter was having a “Grandparent’s Day” at school on Friday. Could I possibly come?
My navigational intelligence told me immediately that this was important, but I knew it would be very difficult to work it in. Nevertheless, on Friday afternoon I was walking in the front door of the school.
When I entered my granddaughter’s classroom, I saw her eyes light up with delight. She grabbed my hand and took me to my seat. I watched as she participated in the program that had been carefully prepared. Then, together, we cut her silhouette out of black paper and mounted it on a poster board.
As I sat there beside her, I realized that this Grandparent’s Day program was just as important to her as my writing project was to me. My being there was acknowledging that importance—and her importance. It was because this activity was important to her—and she was important to me—that I was there.
As we’ve said before, time is the commerce of life balance, the communicator of value. And because this is true, one of the greatest gifts we can give others is the gift of time. As we consider the “important” priorities in our lives, we need to always remember that people and relationships are among the most important. Taking time to listen to a coworker or a spouse or to play with a child communicates the value we place on that person and on the relationship.
Also, making time to contribute to the well-being of others in our society is an indicator of the value we place on other people and on the positive aspects and benefits of living in our society. As others have observed:
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
—Sir Winston Churchill
You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for others—something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth.
—Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell
Some things are important because they simply are important. Family, work, contribution, and service are all important. They are principles. They are essential to creating quality and balance in our lives. So as we consider how to spend our precious resource of time, we need to make sure that we invest in these principles that create life balance. These things are the things that matter most.