By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wastin' Time

Lately, I've been reading Gospel Doctrine which contains segments from speeches by President Joseph F. Smith.

They certainly were a lot more blunt about things in the late 1800's and the early 1900's, weren't they? Last night I was reading the section on amusements and fashion. President Smith came down hard on card playing, novel reading, and current women's fashions. We have a lot more than that going on now, but the intent is the same. One of the several things that I think he was getting at was the enormous waste of time the cards and novels could engender.

Earlier in the book, President Smith talked about moderation in all things. Somehow, we humans can get carried away with some things. It can be different for each person, although games and entertainment of various kinds are probably the ones we most go overboard with. I know I certainly don't go overboard with cleaning house or any other constructive thing!

What makes life difficult is that we do need some recreation, even time-wasting recreation. But knowing when to stop recreating and get back to work seems to be the problem. The motivation for doing the right things at the right time, whether you feel like it or not, needs to come from within. It's fine for little kids to depend on Mom and Dad to make them do chores and homework, but, one hopes, somewhere along the line Mom and Dad will teach them the whys and wherefores and consequences so that said kids can motivate themselves.

Still, all is not lost. It is never too late to turn over a new leaf. I think about what President Smith said about spending one's life in a worthwhile manner and also setting long range goals so that the things you do are leading in the direction you wish to go, toward the end you envision. It requires discipline. It requires pondering on the whys and wherefores and consequences. It requires doing the right things, the constructive things, the things that lead toward your personal goals for your life. It requires being able to say no to yourself when you want to watch TV or surf the net, but you need to clean house or make out a budget or write the book you want to publish. Even the things you enjoy can be very hard work as you seek to improve the level of your performance.

I think spending some time on the paperwork to make a time budget, a money budget, and a list of goals would be a good investment of effort. It seems to help me to take ephemeral thoughts and write them down in black ink upon white paper. It is then concrete. Flexibility is desirable, of course, as long as we don't flex ourselves right out of accomplishing anything.

It is hard to be a grown-up. But so worthwhile.



Anonymous Barb said...

I think you hit the nail on your head when you said it is a matter of knowing when to say when. I read a talk recently in the Ensign, which said there is nothing inherently wrong with things such as surfing the net or playing video games provided you are not going to inappropriate sites or playing violent or graphic games. It spoke of the need for balance in such activities. I knew a young man that missed a lot of work due to playing a video game. I think that is a pretty good sign that one has a problem when it interfers with your life. Most people may not get that extreme but could certainly gain from budgeting their priorities. I was surprised who I was able to scale back my online activity so well recently. I know I can do it if I need to hehehe. I am not one of those people who can stand to be busy all the time. I think there are different personality types and for those of us who like to muse, we need free time. I do think that you can really ponder while doing meditative tasks though such as snapping green beans--an activity that I really enjoy, or cutting up fabric. Running and walking can also be times to clear the cob webs. :)

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Pop said...

I've actually seen people get so into a calling that it becomes an obsession and takes over their lives. They devote all their time to it, neglect their families, are never prepared for class because they didn't study the lesson. Any thing that takes such a role in our lives makes us less of a whole being. Many if not most people probably don't truly budget their money let alone their time. It would be interesting to walk into 100 random homes spread across a diverse sample and ask to see a "hard copy" of both their financal and time budgets. My guess is you would maybe get a couple of money ones and no time ones. A scenic landscape serves as my snap bean.


11:10 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks for the comments, Barb and Pop! I've been cutting back on internet time, too, and need to do more. Like Pop said, even a good thing like a calling can become an obsession if we let it. Balance, moderation--these are good things to keep in mind. And I need my quiet time to muse and ponder, too! But I do too much of it sometimes and don't get needful things done. Pop, I expect you're right that few people have a hardcopy of either a time or a money budget. Yet those things could really help us.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Pop said...

There is an old saying Mary, that if you don't write it down it didn't happen.


4:46 PM  

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