It was 3 years ago when I was roaming the toy aisle sifting through Nerf toys and Legos when I made one of the best decisions I’ve made as an uncle. I decided that day that I was done buying birthday toys for my nieces and nephews. I would still give them a gift, but it wouldn’t be plastic. I decided I was going to give them time. I would plan an activity for them and bring them on an adventure.

This was terrifying for me. I don’t have children of my own, so the thought of taking a 4 year old to the zoo was like a rocket ship launching me so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t even see it anymore. It was another world to live in, but it was a good world.

I called my siblings and shared my thought with them to get them on board (and so they understood why I was showing up to the birthday party empty handed). They loved it–especially that there would be one less toy to clean up.

They adventures haven’t always been the smoothest of sailing, but they have been worth it. I have cultivated memories, inside jokes, and most importantly, a real connection with each one of my nieces and nephews. They know I love them because I gave them my most precious resource–my time.

What would it be like in your life if you starting giving time instead of trucks? What relationships could grow beyond plastic toys to memories and inside jokes? How might God be able to use you in the lives of your family as you work towards building something that will live on beyond when a toy breaks?