One of the gifts we have been given in this life is TIME. We have all have been given 24 hours to spend in whatever way we please. However, once time is spent, we cannot get it back. So how do we, fathers, with so many responsibilities, balance everything?
Some fathers find that following a certain schedule works best, while some want to be spontaneous in their daily activities. There is no secret formula to balancing our time between all our priorities. Instead, we need to understand that right balance doesn’t literally mean distributing equal amounts of time to everything. I believe that the right balance involves giving our 100% undivided attention to whatever task we have decided to do. It is about being physically, mentally, and emotionally present during family dinners, soccer games and in everything we do. It is about serving in the Church and trusting that God will help our wives take care of things at home. Giving 100% means giving our best effort and putting our best foot forward when we have chosen to do something. It doesn’t matter how much time we spend fulfilling these priorities but how we spend the time it takes doing them.
One concern that some fathers may have is following the commandment to “put God first.” It is very important for us fathers to understand the meaning of this commandment. We might feel that service in the Church should be our top priority because we want to follow this commandment but this is a distorted understanding.
M. Russell Ballard counseled, “As a result of their focusing too much time and energy on their Church service, eternal family relationships can deteriorate. Employment performance can suffer. This is not healthy, spiritually or otherwise. While there may be times when our Church callings require more intense effort and unusual focus, we need to strive to keep things in proper balance. We should never allow our service to replace the attention needed by other important priorities in our lives. Remember King Benjamin’s counsel: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27).
The church has been established in a way that can help us balance all these responsibilities. One example is “Ministering.” This new direction of the LDS church does not require us to minister everyday. In fact, this activity can be done as a family. The Church is conscious about not taking too much time from our families so we must not neglect our other responsibilities because of our church calling or assignments. If we ever feel that all these responsibilities are too heavy for us, our bishops are always willing to extend help and discuss alternatives to help us.
The book of Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I know that by applying this principle in our daily lives, we will be able to manage and balance our time so we can spend it with the people and the things that matter most.