Priorities

More Thoughts  

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it is the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it is the unbounded joy of not working. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward my office downstairs with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time.

I turned the computer on in order to listen to a Saturday morning voice chat. Along the way, I came across an older-sounding chap with a tremendous golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles".

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say. "Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I am sure they pay you well, but it is a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital." He continued, "Let me tell you something, Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities".

That is when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles". "You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."  " Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part." "It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy."

"So, I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here next to my gear. Every Saturday since then I have taken one marble out and thrown it away." "I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I signoff with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on this computer chat room. You could have heard a pin drop when this fellow signed off. I had planned to work on the computer that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few friends for tennis. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss.

"C'mon honey, I'm taking you to breakfast." "What brought this on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we are out?

I need to buy some marbles.

Mike Holt's Comment: Even though I travel some, write a few books, manage my web site, and write articles for three different magazines (besides training for Barefoot Nationals, motorcross race); I find (make) the time to spend with my seven kids and my wife. I do whatever it takes to give them quality time (if I have to I get up at 3 am).

I thank God each day for his blessing and my family. I also thank Him for giving me the ability to help others in my industry, but most of all I thank him for helping me know what is important. Please spend time with your wife and kids and remember the job is just a job, but your family is your family. I hope this message might help someone stop and think about how they are spending there time. Note: I only have 1352 marbles.