Time to Reflect and Choose

Interview of Jacob Villaman by Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Time to Reflect and Choose
Jacob (15) recently returned to his home in the USA after living in Spain for a year with his younger brother and his parents. As I talked with him, he shared how he realized that alone time was really important in his individual growth and decision-making process.

How you’ve grown as a result of your year in Spain?
JACOB: I’m not sure how to put it in words, but it has to do with not being around friends all the time. I had alone time, but I wasn’t lonely. I had a lot of time to reflect and think on everything, such as choices, how I want to be as a person, how I want to come across to other people. I’m comfortable with who I am.

That’s awesome. What did you come up with?
JACOB: I was able to set some goals for myself about who I want to be. Our Sunday school teacher in Spain actually got me thinking. How he explained 1 John 3 resonated with me. I like seeing myself as God’s son. I don’t want to do drugs or drink, and if other people think weirdly or badly of me, it doesn’t matter. I don’t want those people in my life anyway. I have decided I don’t want to become a slave—a slave to substances, to peer pressure, to anything.

And obviously you didn’t figure this out by making the wrong choices, but by thinking about it and making good choices.
JACOB: Definitely. There’s a really cool book I read called The 6 Most Important Decisions You Will Ever Make: A Guide for Teens by Sean Covey. It’s about making the right choices when it’s hard. I want to be the type of person who has fun and can be chill without using drugs and alcohol. And I am.

Did you enjoy being alone, being disconnected, which is really hard to do these days with texts, phones, gaming, computers, you name it?
JACOB: Yes, definitely. Solitude is important to me. And music can also help me tune out the world and get into my own zone and stop thinking about other stuff that I don’t need to worry about. It’s not that I don’t want to be with people and friends. I do. But when I’m alone, I can do whatever I want. I don’t mean this in a selfish way. I can build, create, draw, or do something that no one else can do in exactly the same way. While I like having shared experiences, I like having my own unique experiences without others. It’s something that’s completely mine. It gives me a sense of peace … and power, too, in a good way.

Editor's Note: What Jacob learned about being alone is really important. There are studies showing that the real innovators, entrepreneurs, movers and shakers in our world came up with their great ideas when they were alone. They would take breaks and connect with others, get ideas, and then go back and by themselves continue to work with their ideas.

Even Jesus needed alone time. He would leave the multitudes, send off his disciples, and go to a mount or a garden to pray, to be alone listening to God. Then he would come back and heal the multitudes. And he was the biggest mover and shaker around.

Now, we may not want to shake up the world. And that’s just fine. It’s often the little things in life that count. But we still want to succeed and to make some difference somehow. We want our lives to count for something. So it seems natural to need space and time to think alone … with God. So then we can share with others the ideas that we discover alone.