Any other year, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and can’t wait for the long weeks of time off from work and school. This year… I feel slightly different. After months of lockdown, these summer holidays feel a bit weird.
I want us to think about our time. What will we choose to do with all this time we have off?
Over lockdown the average person’s screen time significantly increased. This is no big shock. Of course, we couldn’t see friends or family in the flesh, so video calls became a lifeline. We also needed entertainment, so average hours on apps like Instagram and TikTok increased. Again, no big shock.
But it can be very easy to let our time slip away when we get sucked into social media, or YouTube, or scrolling through ASOS.
How we use our time, and what we give our attention to, shapes who we become – for better or worse.
The saying goes that to become world class at something it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. This is based on the life of Mozart, the famous musician and composer. Mozart was known as a child musical genius by the age of 10… but he practised piano and violin relentlessly for hours a day from the age of 2! Now, I’m not encouraging everyone to spend their whole summer in hours of long piano practice. However, it does show that if we’re intentional and deliberate with how we use our time, exciting things can happen!
I want to challenge us to have some vision and purpose for the next few weeks of summer. What sort of person do you want to become? What skills or activities would you like to try out, or get better at?
It can be easy to believe the Love Island lie: you can become rich, famous and have a glamorous life without really ever having to work for it (and no, sitting pool-side in a Spanish villa for 8 weeks doesn’t count as ‘work’!). But I really have seen the benefits of diligence, commitment and hard work in the lives of people around me and in those I look up to.
One of our contemporary heroes is Malala Yousef. In 2012, Malala spoke out against the extremist Taliban army who’d taken over her town in Pakistan, and banned girls from going to school. Whilst Malala couldn’t go to school, she dedicated her time to education and publicly speaking about how important girls’ education is. Later that year, Malala was shot by the Taliban. Miraculously, she recovered and moved to England for her safety. This didn’t stop her. Malala has dedicated her life to promoting girls’ education around the world, raising money for thousands of schools and opportunities for girls. This summer, she also graduated from Oxford University. I love this quote from Malala, which sums up how she’s using her time and her life for the good of others: ‘I don’t want to be thought of as the girl who was shot by the Taliban, but as the girl who fought for education. This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.’
I don’t know about you, but my life is unlikely to replicate Mozart or Malala any time soon! But, something they can both teach us is that you get out of life what you put into it. So, what could you commit your time to and work hard for? Sometimes, choosing one or two things to focus on is the best way to start.
Would you like to be a kinder person? Then commit to doing one little act of kindness every day.
Would you like to be the next Star Baker? Then practice your cupcake recipes a couple of times a week.
Would you like to be able to run a 5K? Build it up slowly, and run every couple of days.
Whether it’s writing, swimming, sewing or singing, being a best friend or a helpful daughter, reading your Bible or fixing your bike; commit some time to practicing getting better, just a little bit every day.
I hope you have a wonderful few weeks to relax and have fun, and hope you enjoy using your time wisely.
Photo by Luke van Zyl