An Hour A Day Habit

With some degree of regularity I attend a conference for people who love working with TCKs.  I can’t remember a year that I attended when the speakers were less than stellar.  Of course, just like any other conference, sometimes you walk away with more than other times.

A few years ago, the speaker made the comment that she sets aside one hour of her work day and one day of her work week to read.  I was impressed then, but over the years I’ve become more impressed with her and her reading habits.  Not only does she love working with TCKs, but she also works with a lot of cross-cultural workers experiencing issues and troubles that go beyond the ordinary stresses of life.  Keeping up with a full work load is difficult enough, but taking that time to read?  It seemed to me like she was just piling up her to do list.

I’ve had a few years to ponder her reading habits at the office.  I’ve decided she’s an even wiser woman than I first thought.  It’s true, her to do list might get a little more packed because of her commitment to read, but I have a feeling she comes away from that hour refreshed, resharpened, and ready for what comes next.

I’ve decided I need to follow her example–at least in part.  I need to look at reading as not just a reward, but as part of the bigger picture of what I do.  I have a stack of books on my desk and at home that I mean to get to, but never do.  I have works of fiction with TCKs as their protagonists.  I have parenting books.  I have leadership books.  I have books on cross cultural life and missiology and writing.  They all sit and wait for me to find time to read them.

Recently I decided should I go to grad school, a degree in something like leadership development would be useful.  Then I started poking around the internet a bit.  I learned a few things.  Most of the programs labeled “Leadership Development” are all designed for business or school settings.  That’s not really what I want.  Most programs take more time than I have to give.  Every program takes more money than I have–that one wasn’t much of a surprise.

I’m not sure what all that means for right now except that I won’t be going back to school any time soon.  I’m fine with that.  I love school and I love being a student.  Thankfully, learning isn’t sequestered to a classroom.

So, I’ve decided it’s time.  It’s time to read.  It’s time to learn.  It’s time to give my efficacy a chance to increase because I take the time to read more than a blog post.  It’s time to give an hour a day to the pile of books that grows steadily in the places I occupy.

I’ve decided, too, that I will fail at this goal of reading an hour a day.  It’s inevitable.  Days of training and debriefing and running around with TCK and meetings will temporarily divert me from my goal.  That’s OK.  I can live with it.  I may even have to shelve the goal for a season this summer, but I’m not giving up on it.  Knowing it’s OK to fail (not an easy concept for me–and a post for another day) takes the pressure away.  It also keeps me from being legalistic about what I will and won’t do.

Starting tomorrow, I read.  For an hour.  Tonight?  I’m off to the library to pick up the first book on the list.

What goals are you working on?  And, perhaps more importantly, what are you reading and what do you think about it?


photo courtesy of lusi on



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