936 pennies spotlight the passing of time

We have 936 weeks from the time our child is born until graduation.


Sounds like a lot.

Or, maybe, to you it sounds like only a little.

I’ve been told by strangers and friends alike to treasure the moments with my little ones because the time will fly.

I know it. I’m already feeling it.

A VISUAL REMINDER: What 936 looks like

I learned about these 936 weeks from Parent Cue. Its a blog and app from the Orange company. They fill a jar with 936 marbles to visually represent the weeks. They say to take a marble out each week and watch as those weeks go by. Do your best to make the most of your time, they say.

I wanted to have that visual reminder in my home, too. I decided to make one for each of my children.

And then I thought, Why keep this to myself? 

As a pastor and friend to the other parents in my church, I decided that it would be a wonderful gift and teaching opportunity to present a jar to the parents of preschoolers and babies.

But maybe I wouldn’t use marbles. Marbles are pretty. However, pennies are less expensive.

$9.36 versus $45 for a bag. Just sayin’!

And anyway, pennies are a symbol that fit so well with what we’re doing. We’re investing into our children each week. Just like pennies are spent, we are spending weeks.

There’s a book called 936 Pennies. The author writes about how her life was impacted by receiving 936 pennies by her pastor and how she tries to go about her days with her children intentionally. I reviewed that book here.


So we presented the pennies in jars at my church this week. Before the kids sermon in our worship service, I invited the parents to come forward. They stood, holding their babes tight as I explained that each penny represented a week in the child’s life.

Every Sunday when they go home from church, they are to remove one penny from the jar.

We gave them an empty jar to place the pennies into. The main visual, though, is the original jar that begins nearly full, and over the course of 18 years will be spent up.

On the front of that jar I wrote Psalm 90:12a “Teach us to number our days.”

I shared with my fellow parents that God has commissioned us to invest into our children all the love and care and faith that we can give them. Our desire is to invest each penny the best we can, knowing the time is precious.

It was difficult, when I took my jar of pennies home, to count out all the weeks I’ve already spent with the kids and remove those pennies. It doesn’t feel like it has been that long!

I finished the pennies presentation at church with warning the parents to keep the pennies away from the toddlers (chocking hazards!!) and prayed a blessing over each family.


Here are a couple of ideas that I didn’t have the time to say, but plan on doing myself:

* Keep a journal near the pennies and jot down a few sentences about the past week. Favorite memories, experiences, funny things that were said, difficult periods we worked through … whatever it may be. It’s worth slowing down enough to meditate on how the week was spent. These are memories we can store for our children.

* Plan to pass along the jar to your child. What a gift. Over the years, if you keep up with this practice, they will see what is happening. They will know what it is about. Perhaps they won’t really understand it until they have their own child. When I was young, I felt like time was unlimited. But I can picture my future Mama-self ceremonially handing over the pennies and reinforcing to my grown-up babe that each week meant so much to me, and that so much love and prayer had been invested.

Question for you: Do you know of any other rituals that can help us mark the time?


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