I also have a full time job and a family, with a 2 year old son, so Lye and I are in a very similar situation. I blog on the side and do my best to keep Riches Corner thriving while juggling different responsibilities and keeping my priorities straight at the same time. I suspect many of you are in the same situation.
Reading Lye’s post reminded me of a story I had heard years ago and actually had a high school teacher demonstrate the following example to me.
A Story about the Important Things in Life
Years ago as a young high school student, I had a young energetic English teacher. One day, he came to school and gave a lesson about the important things in life.
One day as class was beginning, we were taking our seats. You could hear the hustle and bustle of the rowdy students. Guys were still laughing and making jokes, the girls giving us sidelong glances and laughing along at time. The teacher stood at the front of the class and had to raise is voice to catch our attention.
“Good morning, class. GOOD MORNING, CLASS!”
We quieted down and watched as he took out an empty jar and set it on the table.
Then he took out some rocks and put them into the jar. He could only fit a few before they couldn’t fit anymore. The last rock wedged right in at the top.
He gestured at the jar and asked us, “Is this jar full?”
We all agreed. It was full.
Then he reached behind his desk and picked up another container and poured some pebbles into the jar.
The pebbles poured in and filled in the empty spaces between the larger rocks until it reached the brim of the jar.
Some of the students laughed at being tricked.
Again he asked if the jar was now full.
Again we agreed, a bit tentatively, that it was full.
Again the teacher reached behind his desk and pulled out a bag. This he lifted up to pour into the jar.
Pouring out of the bag was fine sand.
He took more care this time, but the sand was able to get into the crevices between the pebbles and fill up the jar.
Now, “Is the jar full?”
This time, we weren’t quite sure, but the answer was probably yes. The students had now caught on and suggested that even smaller things could fit into the jar.
The teacher agreed, and there was a short lively discussion about the perception of things. The professor agreed, but told us that’s not the point of the lesson.
Finally, he took out another jar that was empty. In this jar, he took the remaining sand and poured in the sand until it was full.
Now he took out the box of rocks again and asked us.
“Would you be able to put these rocks into the jar that’s now full of sand?”
Of course, we all agreed that was impossible.
Now came the point of the lesson
“This jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things -your family, your health. these are the most important things in your life. If you lost everything else and these things were all you had left, your life would still be full.” Said the teacher
“The pebbles are the other things that are of secondary importance that help fulfill your life: possessions, wealth, your reputation, etc… Still important, but you could do without those things if necessary.”
“Finally, the sand is everything else. These are the small things in life. The petty contests and disputes, the small toys and knick knacks.”
“Just like these jars, if you fill your life with the small things first, there will be no room for the more important things, the pebbles or the rocks.”
“Fill your life with rocks first. Set your priorities and figure out the things that really matter. Everything else is just sand.”
Take Care of your Rocks!
Now, as a young high school student, I must admit the lesson didn’t really sink in at the time. Over the years though, there have been things that have become the rocks in my life. My family, my son.
Those rocks are my priority. I work to ensure that I fill my jar with the rocks first. Everything else comes second.
As a blogger, it’s easy to let blogging and being online take over all of your time. The important thing is to find balance. Just like it’s easy to be online all day long, at the same time, you can also take a break from your blog and spend some time with the family and the other important things in life.
The wonderful thing about a blog is that it is a persistent world. You don’t need to be there all the time to make sure your blog is available to the readers. Your posts are always there. There’s always old posts for the readers to peruse. And when you get back to your blog, you may have some new stories to share that your readers will appreciate.
Go take care of your rocks!