With the recent birth of my second daughter, I’m quickly realizing that the time I dedicate to writing is thinning as quickly as my hair. That’s why this post isn’t for everyone. In fact, its really just for me. I’m hoping that writing it will solidify my priorities and where writing fits into those priorities. If it helps benefit your life too, then please read on. If not, you’ll have to wait until 20 years from now when my kids are out of the house and I can finally get the time to get something up that’s fun to read (and write) about (sarcasm intended).
And so, here are the regulations I am imposing upon myself so I can be the best Papí, husband, teacher and writer that the 24 hours in each day will allow me to be. My wife is going to love this:
1) Keep prayer the most consistent part of your day
The sign of the cross you make when you open your eyes and the final moments on your knees beside the bed before you collapse into yor pillow might be your only conscience prayer, but don’t let the idea that you are constntly in the presence of God leave you. Recognize Him in your thoughts often, but most importantly, recognize Him in the eyes of your family who reflect your vocation with every smile, hug, and dirty diaper.
2) Plan and prioritize your internet surf
When you hit the power-on button, travel into the deep sea like Jesus did with Peter and Andrew and take the big waves first. Pay your online bills, balance your budget, write a chapter in your book and then write your blogpost. Finish up by replying to important Emails, then semi-important Emails and finally, if you have time, waste it on facebook and/or twitter. (Note, your priorities might be different than mine. Where you waste time is quite different than where I waste time. The point is, get the important stuff done first).
3) Set aside “screen time” for your kids and for yourself
The worst thing a parent can do is to be so entranced by technology that they miss out on the little (but very significant) moments of their children’s lives. However, our culture is turning digial at an alarming rate which means not only do you need the internet to function (take online bill paying as an example), but your children will too.
This doesn’t mean that nature is left out. In fact, since we Catholics have always been the greatest counter to worldly culture and lovers of nature, so we should limit our time with technology to a point that we are getting the best out of God’s natural creation and using our own technological creations to grow closer to Him. We can do this if we use technology to honor God and then teach our kids to do the same.
So, when you use the computer (and set reasonable time limits), allow your kids to use their’s. However, when you are offline, they should be outside with you getting dirty, being curious, and scarping their knees from time to time.
4) Keep a pen and pad of paper handy
If you are a writer and a parent, ideas for posts and books (maybe even poetry) will pop into your head at the worst moments. Odds are, you will be occupied with your family when this occurs and will feel guilty if you need to leave them to turn on your computer and write (especially if it isn’t during the previously mentioned screen time). Don’t let this happen. Reach for the easy solution and use the ancient method of papyrus and ink to get your thoughts down on paper so you can return to them during your allotted tech time.
5) Writing is basically watered down actions
Writing is your last priority. Make sure you see your family’s eyes more than you see your computer screen. Your life will be judged by what you do, not by what you write. If you want to imitate Jesus best, then writing should be smal part of your ministry.
There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written
~John 21: 25
To dedicate too much time to your writing is like believing in the Bible alone. As we all know, that’s just not Catholic nor reasonable. Jesus was only only recorded writing once, which gives us a good model to follow as bloggers. If we wish to write, our daily actions must share the same “writing:non-writing” time ratio as Jesus’.
There they are. My self-imposed regulations. Now to adhere to them, eeek.