When I was growing up, my mom and dad had a very simple rule when it came to my sister and I participating in extracurricular sports and teams. That rule was simply One activity at a time. Sometimes this was difficult to accept as I had to make choices like playing basketball or continuing to participate on the school academic team. As much as I loved basketball, I knew I was more gifted in academics and more likely to get scholarship aid, so I chose that. God was great and still worked out a way for me to play basketball in church league basketball which was only on hour a week. Through church basketball league participation God used it to start a love of sports ministry within me which led me into full time ministry, but that’s a story for another day of blogging.
Throughout our school years my sister and I had opportunities to choose from many activities. Quite often, it didn’t seem fair that we had the one thing at a time rule as we watched friends running around involved in everything. I am even pretty sure that it led to some arguments with our parents. Yet, now looking back through my 32 year old eyes I am thankful for the one thing at a time rule.
I can clearly see where having me focus on one activity at a time allowed me to be focused and excel (to the best of my abilities) in that one thing. I can see as I hinted above where it freed me up to allow God to direct my future and develop a passion in me for ministry. As I look at the kids that I work with today, so many of them are worn out and don’t know if they are coming or going. Trying to get a student to commit to something is like grasping at the wind, it’s next to impossible because they have too much already going on. Often they would like to commit to something, and may even verbally do so, but then they can’t follow through. All too often the busyness keeps them from doing their best in any activity or sport they are in.
The most sad thing about the busyness that our students find themselves in is that the one thing that seems to get the least of their best is often their relationship with Christ. They find they don’t have time for church, youth groups, Christian groups like FCA, and still worse personal quiet time in the Word and prayer. Already this school year, I am finding myself encouraging students to be involved in all these aspects of their walk with Christ and hearing about how this club, sport, class, or activity is going to keep them from doing so.
I realize that in the competitive world of scholarships and high college bills our students and parents feel tremendous pressure to pursue anything and everything that can relieve this strain. I want to encourage parents though to consider instituting the one thing at a time rule in your household. This will allow your student to have the freedom to do their best and excel. It also will relieve some of the stress and pressure our students face, that let’s be honest, they have enough of waiting for them in adulthood and they don’t need to face it now. Finally, and most importantly, it allows them to have more freedom to pursue their relationship with Christ. To grow deeper through personal and corporate Bible studies, actively participate in church, youth groups, and other Christian outreaches. To pursue helping others and practicing servanthood towards their fellow man, without the nagging thought of all the others stuff that is overwhelming them currently.
Some, may not agree with me, and as a teenager I would not have agreed with me. But, as I sit here typing this post out right now, I can without a doubt say that I am so very thankful for the William and Dawn Owens One Thing At A Time Rule!