Sixteen Minutes

A repost
by Jenny Harrison

A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.
~~Tom Stoppard

01132013_01If you were to ask me about my graduate and post graduate school experience, I would have to admit that the endless lectures, term papers, and examinations are somewhat of a blur.

However, there was a particular assignment by one of my esteemed professors that I will always remember. Dr. Linda Duncan shared her concept which she proudly labeled, Sixteen Minutes to a Better Life. She explained there were sixteen minutes in a day that were the most critical in building positive relationships, particularly with family members.

The sixteen minute time frame was broken down into four minute increments: the first four minutes we spend with each other when we wake, the last four minutes before we separate to begin our day, the first four minutes after returning from work/school, and the final four minutes before we retire for the evening.

Here’s how it worked: Dr. Duncan challenged each of her students to exchange negative and nagging statements for positive and encouraging messages during the sixteen minute time frame.

Skeptical that a seemingly small tweak in my routine could make a drastic difference, I agreed to participate and report my experience to my peers at the next scheduled class.

01132013_02aDuring my thirty mile drive home from class, I began to consider my greeting for my husband and son. Normally, I would walk through the door and announce how extremely weary I was after an excruciating day of work and school, but instead I chose to let my son and husband know how glad I was to see them. “It sure is great to see the two of you. How did your day go?,” I exclaimed!

No doubt, the initial look of confusion on their faces was a Kodak moment, however, their positive response was worth it all.

I continued my assignment with kind words before bed and a cheerful greeting in the morning versus rambling on about everything my son needed to remember to do to prepare for his day or errands I wanted my husband to run.

As I consistently implemented my professor’s suggestions throughout the week, I noticed a distinct difference in the response and demeanor of my family. However, the most significant change was the one in my own heart. I couldn’t become angry or grumpy if I tried. While most of the class wanted to test their loved ones’ responses, no one really comprehended the impact this simple exercise would have on their own attitude.

Thank you Dr. Duncan! Your expertise and wisdom have served me well through the years.

Precious Savior, I pray that you help me remember that positive change in my home, community, or the world starts with me. Forgive me my Lord, when I become oblivious and hardened to the needs of my fellow man. Guide my heart so that I may be a servant of compassion and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …
Philippians 2:1-30 (ESV)

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)

Copyright © 2013, Jenny Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Quote by Tom Stoppard. Bible scripture taken from English Standard Version.

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  • Beth Farley

    This was such a good reminder. I have been teaching a class on Contagious Joy and this was a good reminder to me to keep reaching for joy! Thanks. Beth