Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (May 24, 2014)
There’s a verse in the Bible that says “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. From my understanding, what it means is that we will invest in the things that we value in our heart.
Taking material goods as an example, if I love a particular handbag and desire it with my heart, I am likely to invest my treasure, money, in it. If a person wants the latest phone, he may willingly spend half his salary on it. Some men might not be willing to invest in a new watch (saying they have one that works – why get a new one?) but would, in a heartbeat, buy a new car even if they have several already. That just shows that their hearts are focused on cars and investing their treasure into it is a natural choice. So our heart’s desires and the choices we make in choosing where to put our treasure is closely linked.
But this concept doesn’t just apply to material things – it also applies to time. A common saying is ‘time is money’ and although that may be true, I believe that time is even more precious than money. It’s sometimes easier to give money than to give time. And therefore, time is the true treasure of our lives. Time can’t be bought, can’t be regained and can’t be lived again. We each have a limited amount of time each day, each year and each lifetime. So it is a treasure we must use wisely.
The way we use our time is a reflection of where our hearts are. In looking at our day, it’s usually a necessity that we spend most of our waking moments at work or at school. But outside of the times that we are committed to, how do we choose to spend our time? It’s easy to tell what people have on their hearts when you look at how they spend their time.
I have a friend who loves fishing. He would wake up at 4am to go fishing and even if it means losing out on sleep, he willingly does it because his heart is set on fishing. Once he started dating the girl of his dreams, some of that fishing time got allocated to spending with this girlfriend. This friend of mine still spends his time fishing but so much more with his girlfriend now. His heart is focused on her and his treasured time reflects that.
As an educator, I meet many parents and look at how they schedule their own time and their children’s time. I am often amazed at how parents so sacrificially give their time to their children and it is such a display of love. I’ve seen working parents carve out time in their busy schedules to spend precious time with their children. I’ve seen working parents find it so hard to find time to spend with their children because of work commitments that they sacrifice their job to be a stay-at-home parent. I’ve seen stay-at-home parents forfeit time with friends so that they can devote more time to their children. What a beautiful display of putting treasure where you heart is. I remember hearing someone once say “it’s the little moments that make a big impact” and investing time for those little moments makes a big impact on a child.
But I also challenge parents to think about how they schedule their children’s time. If time is treasure and you put your treasure where your heart is, what message are you giving your children by the way you organise their time? Is your child’s time all spent on tutoring and interview classes? Is your child’s time at home spent on watching TV or playing on the iPad? How much time is focused on building your child’s character and values? I’ve heard many parents say they care about their child’s values and character but devote little time to investing in it. The way you have your child spend his time gives your child a message about what you think is important in your heart. So, where is your heart?