Marbles and Weekends

I began writing this post in September of 2013. Yep. 18 months ago. Sometimes ideas and thoughts and words need time to stew and percolate. Either that or I’ve been avoiding finishing it because of the sobering reality it always throws in my face.

What I do know is I’ve spent more intentional time with my sons since I began writing this so many months ago. And THAT is the whole point!

Right now you’re thinking, “What the heck is Rick talking about?”

Okay. To the point.

Bernice and Boys at Petosky State Park

On a September weekend in 2013 I had the incredible privilege of attending a conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference was put on by Jon Acuff in conjunction with his recently released book START.

The key part of the weekend as it relates to this article, was when Reggie Joiner stepped on the stage and proceeded to blow me away. He made me cry. His message that day was about how many weekends we have with our children. His premise was that we have approximately 936 weekends with our kids from the time they are born until the time they leave our home.

936 weekends from birth to age 18.

He used a huge jar of marbles as a visual aid. 936 marbles in a jar to represent 936 weekends. And then he began tossing them out. Slowly at first, and then faster. Marbles were rolling all over the stage, onto the floor, and into the crowd.

And then it hit me.

On that day the marbles remaining in the jars representing my boys looked like this:

Noah = 87
Jared = 243

The marble jars for my boys were almost empty.

I cried right there in my seat.

The number I used is the number of weekends until high school graduation.

Fast forward to today. The number of marbles has changed. Now they look like this:

Noah = 8!!!!!!!!
Jared = 164

EIGHT!!!???? Whoa!

But you know what? Since that day when the numbers were 87 and 243, I’ve spent more intentional time with each of them (and my wife). I have thoroughly enjoyed these weeks, and I will relish the next 8 and 164.

I love my boys. They know it. That will never change. But since that day in September of 2013, when Reggie Joiner made me cry at a conference, I’ve tried hard to show it as well. And I’m going to keep showing it.

Just because they graduate from high school, turn 18, leave the house, etc, I don’t have to stop loving them and spending time with them. My life with them isn’t over. In some ways it has barely begun. I have so much more to teach them. I have so much more I can learn from them.

I’m excited about all the weekends (and weekdays) to come. Imagine the great experiences we can have together. Imagine the conversations we get to have with each other!

Exactly what the future holds is unknown. But one thing I know for sure.

I get to spend it with my boys!

image  image Noah Jared Chicago October 2014 Mission trip




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13 thoughts on “Marbles and Weekends

  1. Rick,
    I’ve seen Reggie do the marble example too. Same effect! My kids are still very little but watching you be so intentional about since we were partnered up in the original Start group is encouraging and inspiring.
    Thanks for writing this down, I sure needed to read it.

  2. Great post, Rick! Just found your blog today and looking forward to digging more into it. That marble visual is so powerful. I’ve got three tween-teen boys and a toddler girl. I’ve definitely got a lot more pink marbles than blue left in the jar. I appreciate the reminder to be intentional about making the most of our time to build into our sons and daughters. I often feel that pull between fixing something on the house (or enter other “priority” here) vs throwing the football around with my sons (which I’d much rather do but won’t do anything to keep my plumbing from leaking). May God grant us wisdom as dads to make the right choices.

    • Shawn, thanks for joining the conversation! When I came home last night my 15 year old was pretty geeked about how many marbles he had left. I saw the jar as emptying fast, but he saw it as pretty full! Perspective.

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