The perspective I start out with when I first climb out of bed in the morning usually determines the quality of my day.

When I begin with prayer and a time of spiritual reflection, I am more apt to see the entire day through this lens. However, when I begin by diving right into my to-do list, my entire day tends to play out like a checklist as well. Then I wind up more focused on merely getting through the day rather than drinking fully from the experiences it actually holds.

Morning MeetingI notice a similar pattern in the school days at home with my grandchildren.

Sitting down with them with a time of prayer and reflection, before we jump into school lessons, sets the day up to be more peaceful and productive. After prayer and discussion about a spiritual concept, each child agrees to a character focus for the day. For one it could be working on a teachable spirit. For another it may be attentiveness or patience. Persistence is always an aim for all. Discussing these qualities up front gives me permission to remind them during the day of their personal character aims. As a result, a deeper purpose rises out of the process rather than merely getting the task list completed. Plus we all enjoy the day much more.
Perhaps you feel like you have absolutely NO margin in your jam-packed school day to add in such a meeting with your kids –  that your only option is to urge them to jump right into the day’s work as soon as possible. Although you value prayer and spiritual reflection, even the thought of adding it into an already jam packed day heightens your stress level.  What I am learning is that being too busy to pray actually takes my focus away from what is most important. A prayer time breathes in peace and centeredness by turning my focus – and theirs – back to what is most important, which is found in the process and not the final outcomes.

I challenge you to give it a try…..

……to intentionally begin with a spiritual perspective rather than jumping right into the to-do list. I believe you will see more authentic growth taking place AND less time being wasted. A right perspective at the start may make all the difference in the quality of your day as well as the quality of learning taking place. 

There is an old adage: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In reality, everything is in the eye of the beholder. The emotions we experience don’t reflect our external reality; they reflect our internal reality. We don’t see the world as it is; we see the world as we are. That’s why prayer is so critical. It’s a way of seeing reality — and more specifically, the reality that is beyond that reality we can perceive with our five senses.” (Draw the Circle: The Forty Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson)