Sunday, May 17, 2009

ain't wastin time no more

Five hours.  That's the answer to a statistic I just looked up.  Any guesses?  Try the number of hours the average person spends each day in the car.  That's staggering to me.  Do we really spend that much time in the car every day?  Even if I spent half that, that's a TON of time.

Well, long before I knew that crazy statistic, I realized that I spent a significant amount of time in the car every day, so shortly after Marianna was born I thought about how I was going to use that time.  I wanted to spend car time intentionally so that it could be used meaningfully instead of flying by, wasted.

Over the past three years I've tried to keep that commitment to view our car time together as opportunities to be treasured, not hours to pass. And as I look back, I've got to say that I am shocked by how much we have done together, just riding along in the car.  After all, outside of time spent driving there aren't that many hours we moms have a captive audience in our small children, so I've found those hours to be priceless.  

So what do we do?  I'm going to try and break it down into three main categories.  The first is general learning, especially memorization.  Car time is perfect for learning songs, Bible verses, letter sounds, how to spell your name, your phone number, the months of the year, the days of the week, family birthdays.  You name it. If it involves lots of repetition, the car is a great place to work on it.  We've actually done all of the above, most to made up songs by yours truly.  They may not be musically sound, but they work.  And most importantly, it has made learning fun instead of tedious.  I'm pretty certain Marianna doesn't know she has learned all of that. It's just part of what we do in the car, as normal to her as taking a bath or brushing her teeth. 

Another category, and one of Marianna's very favorites, is Bible story time.  I've covered the great stories from the Bible from Adam and Eve to Paul and Timothy, telling them over and over until my throat goes dry, as Marianna, and now Adrienne, listens, loving them and always wanting more. I love reading books when we are home, but there is something special about telling these Bible stories out loud, using them as opportunities to explain the principles found in each story and plant the seeds about God's love for us.  It's also a challenge for me as I have learned to focus not just on the story, but on the message behind each story.  

And finally, we use car time to talk.  Looking out the window provides enough material to talk about on just about any given car ride.  We talk about seasons, emergency vehicles, fast food, banks, the post office, signs, bill boards and how the things going on around us point to when the seasons change.  It doesn't matter what the subject matter because that's not the point.  The point is that I want my girls to know that I care about what they have to say. I want them to know that I enjoy talking to them, not just to adults, and I want to use those opportunities we have to learn about all of the complex, confusing things that I didn't even realize were complex and confusing before I had kids.

Yes, sometimes I do just turn on a CD and we have some chill time in the car, but more often than not, we try and make our car time purposeful and fun.  It's something that has worked for us, and even though sometimes my brain would rather go on autopilot than tell a story, or teach a song, or talk about the weather, it is worth it

So there it is.  That's my way of using those five hours, or however many they are, that I spend in the car each day.  Now if only we could get that much done when we're not using gas!


sarahdodson said...

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Excellent thoughts here. We do lots of talking in the car as well. I like the ideas you shared!

PeaceLoveHappiness said...

I, too, love car time with the family. It is becoming especially handy with my oldest daughter (8). It is a wonderful way for us to talk where she can just spill her heart to me. Something about us not being "face to face" while we talk, but still being together works great for her. She can say anything she wants to and not worry about my facial reaction I guess. We also enjoy our favorite Bible songs and stories. My two little ones really enjoy the religious version of Wheels On The Bus. =)

Who is naebyrd/ rna? said...

funny, since so many days go by where I don't even get in the car:) walking walking walking everywhere now that the weather is nice.

Adam & Amy Wilson said...

This was so inspiring and convicting, Angie. Thanks for sharing!

Radar's Mom said...

Great ideas Angie, thanks! I live on a pretty small island and don't spend nearly that much time in my car, but I'll think twice about how to use that time going forward. As for age, I'm a spritely, youthful new mom at 41, so go ahead and feel young... cause you are!!!

Penny said...

As a kindergarten teacher, I LOVE this post! What a head start you're giving your girls. Priceless!