How do we spend our time?

“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”  Mandy Hale


I received an e-mail today with a story by an unknown author. I want to share it with you, and hopefully nothing will be lost in translation.

Every night, the father of a six-year-old arrives home late in the evening, tired and irritated. One evening, just as the father walks through the front door, the little boy asks, “Daddy, can I ask you a question?” The father answers, “Yes, what do you want to know?” Excitedly, the boy asks, “Daddy, how much money do you earn every hour of the day?” This was a strange question, and the father answered irritated, “Why do you want to know? It is for grownups to know and it has nothing to do with little children! Are the kids at school bragging about whose fathers earn the most, huh?!”

The young boy shakes his head and continues to plead with his father to tell him how much he earns an hour: “Please daddy, I really need to know, it is important!” The father, who just wants to end the conversation and go unwind after a hard day’s work, finally tells his son, “Fine! If you really must know, I earn R600 an hour.” The boy stood there silently for a few seconds and then politely asked his dad if he can borrow R300.

His father, now furious, yells at his son and tells him to go to his room. “You are too young to be this greedy! I work all day and every weekend for my money. And I am not just going to give it away to a brat. Stay in your room until you have learned your lesson!” The little boy immediately stood up and went to his room.

While his father is sitting on the sofa watching television, he begins to wonder why his son asked for R300. Maybe it was for something at school that is important. After a while, he went up to the boy’s room, knocked on the door and asked, “Are you asleep?” The boy answered, “No, daddy, I am still awake.”

His father sat down on his son’s bed and explained to him that he had a long day at work and that he is sorry for yelling at him before asking what he needed the money for. He said, “Here is the R300 that you wanted to borrow. What do you need it for?” The boy was ecstatic and jumped up, grabbed the R300 and said, “Thank you, daddy, thank you! It is for something really, REALLY important!”

He ran to his desk, opened his drawer and to his father’s utter surprise, he removed more money from the drawer and started to count it. His father can feel the anger rise, but decides to bite his tongue while his son counts the money.

He feels angry, because why did his son ask for money if he already has? After his son counted the money, the dad impatiently asks, “Why did you ask for money? You already have!” The father feels ashamed that his son turned out to be this greedy. But the young boy looks his father straight in the eyes and answers with a huge smile, “I did not have enough yet, but now I do. I have R600. Daddy, can I please buy an hour of your time?”


This story made me think about how I spend my time. This six-year-old boy felt that he had to buy an hour of his dad’s time. It is heartbreaking to think that so many of us spend our time on things that do not really matter. Instead, we could be spending our time studying towards our dream careers; spending time with our friends or loved ones; or spending our time doing something worthy.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds. We should live each day as if it is our last, and plan as if we are going to live forever. I know this is a cliché, but there is so much truth to it! Therefore, spend your time wisely. Be with the people you want to be with, and do the things you have always dreamt of doing. One day, you will look back on your life – not with regret, but with content. You will have done the things that dwell in your heart. You have will have lived.

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”  Mandy Hale

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