Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“I’ll time you…”

on March 11, 2013

I’m not really a kid person (before you check to see who write this post, it’s me, Ray… Carly was born to work with kids.) Except for the case of cousins and close family friends, kids who I know I can pick on without hurting their oversensitive parents’ feelings, I’d just rather watch someone’s dog than their kid. Still, for the past two summers I volunteered to watch a cabin full of 8 and 9-year-olds at summer camp and in doing so learned a very valuable lesson.

The unfailing motivator for children is the phrase “I’ll time you.” You can always bribe a dog with food of any kind, but I discovered quickly that bribing kids with food or candy isn’t as effective, especially as the week goes on. See, parents send their kids packages of sugar and sweets and other counselors give out candy as rewards. So “if you go hang up that towel I’ll give you a tootsie roll” is soon met with a retort of “that’s okay, my mom sent me a 6 pound snickers bar.”

“I’ll time you” can get you pretty far. “Let’s see how long we can go without anybody in the cabin talking. I’ll time you.” “Let’s see who can get changed the fastest. I’ll time you.” You can even use it to help them burn off their sugar high with “Let’s see who can do the obstacle course and swim 100 laps. I’ll time you.”

You know the trick is on when the kids start asking you to time them. “I’m going to the bathroom, time me!” And that’s precisely when you can use it against them. “If you don’t put some vegetables on your plate, I won’t time you when you eat your ice cream.” After all, ice cream tastes better when you’re getting timed.

But the strangest part about all of this is that I don’t wear a watch, despite my girlfriend’s dad telling me “You can’t have a good time without a good watch.” Sure, I pretend to count in my head. But kids never seem to catch on that half the time I forget to count, and consequently resort to very specific times like “36.78 seconds. Good! That’s 9.58 second improvement over last time.”

Besides the babysitting lesson, there is a moral to this post. We blog to support you, motivate you, and inspire you. Every single post gets classified under the “inspiration” category. But maybe we haven’t found your “I’ll time you” yet. Having that ultimate motivator, a passion that you work for perpetually, something you strive unceasingly to improve, is ultimately important. Maybe it’s advocacy- cancer, human rights, environmental. Maybe it’s personal improvement- weight loss and fitness, education, or traveling. Maybe it’s service in your church or community. Whatever drives you, motivates you beyond all sensibility, this week “I’ll time you.”

 

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