Marney Makridakis on Family Time

In case you haven't heard, the lovely and inspiring Marney Makridakis just released Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life. It is a beautiful full-color book filled with delicious images, a crowd of astounding contributors and all kinds of snippets, stories and exercises to support living a creative, mindful life.

Marney is also here to share her list of Five Ways to Create More Meaning Time for Your Family and Yourself, a topic that is close to my heart...

Family Time

5 Ways to Create More Meaningful Time for Your Family (and Yourself!)

By Marney Makridakis author of Creating Time

Pay attention to the conversations of parents around you, and notice how often the subject of time comes up:

“I’m fine, just crazy busy. . .”

“I just don’t know when I can find the time. . .”

“I can’t really talk now, I’m running late. . .”

People used to be tied to things like families, communities, rituals, worship, curiosity, and beauty. Now we are tied to schedules, watches, datebooks, computers, and keeping up with the latest gadgets that start with i.  When you’re a parent, you’ve usually got multiple clocks ticking away inside your head, as you’re keeping track of everyone’s time. You’re likely to look to the latest time management tools or gadgets to try to help you gain control of all the spinning plates. Time management can improve what you accomplish but often at the peril of what you experience. As a result, the more that busy parents try to manage their time, the more fragmented they often feel.

The concept of creating time is not just about creating more hours in the day, but creating a new relationship with time that benefits everyone in the family. Here are a few ways to get started:

1.   Become aware of different kinds of time All time is not created equal. The Greek language has two words for time – kronos and kairos. Kronos is sequential, measured time (from this we get the word chronology) and kairos is non-linear, circular time.  Simply being aware of which time state you are in expands your control of time. For example: you’re trying to get your child dressed and out the door for an appointment and the more anxious you’re getting, the more your child seems to be resisting. In this moment, you can recognize you are in kronos time and your child is in kairos. What if you were to join your child in kairos…what might that look like? Maybe pretending that his socks are wild tickle puppets is more important than getting there “on time”. Exploring the shift between kronos and kairos time is a powerful way to access new ideas and insights.

2.   Change the way you talk about time You are no doubt aware that your children is listening to and absorbing to every word you say. Every time you complain about not having enough time, or every time you rush around, your child is watching and learning what time means. Further, your own psyche is listening, too; time seems to reacts as if we’re yelling in a canyon, and whatever we are saying about time comes back to us in our experience.  If we are saying, “There’s never enough time; I’m constantly chasing time and I can’t find it,” then our experience echoes back, “Yes! There’s never enough time; you’re constantly chasing time and you can’t find it!” If, however, we are saying, “I have all the time in the world. Time is fluid and changing at my design. More and more, I see that I have all the time I need,” then this is reflected back in your experience. When we talk and act as if we had all the time in the world, our perception of time does indeed slow down, and our children learn that time is a precious resource, rather than a cause of never-ending anxiety and dread.

3.   Measure time in new ways Time is measured in linear fashion, with numbers on a clock and squares on a calendar. But what if we could interpret time as a qualitative entity instead of something just measured by quantity?   For example, instead of judging a family activity by how long it takes, try measuring it by aspects such as joy, connection, silliness, and meaning. Introduce these new measurements into your family:

“How many laughs until we go to the park?”

“How many memories did we just create?”

“Three hugs ‘til dinner!”

Ask each family member for new ideas for measuring time in new ways. Embrace your children’s creativity and have fun learning how to “tell time” in new ways!

4.   Play games to learn to “tell time” As your family talks about new ways to think about, measure, and experience time, try creating a new “Family Time” clock that is calibrated to true time, the things that are most important to you, as a family. Cut out a circle from posterboard or find an old clock at a thrift store that you can alter. Ask each family member to replace the numbers with images or words that reflect the things that are most important to them. After your project is complete, place it in plain view in your home, to remind everyone to engage in a new relationship with time.

Each time we make a choice to work with time, instead of against it, we are expanding our sense of time. When we are not slaves to time and its perceived boundaries, our family relationships blossom.  We also discover a liberating new view of self and a fresh perspective on the meaning of being human, empowered, and fully alive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Marney K. Makridakis is the author of Creating Time. She founded the Artella online community for creators of all kinds and the print magazine Artella. A popular speaker and workshop leader, she created the ARTbundance approach of self-discovery through art. She lives in Dallas, Texas. Visit her online at http://www.artellaland.com.

Based on the book Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life ©2012 by Marney Makridakis.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide