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Children's Corner "Just a Second"

Written By: Jim Swanson  |  Posted: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

"Jason, did you hear me call you for supper?" Mrs. Jensen called up the stairs.
"I'll be there in a second, " a voice returned.
Mrs. Jensen returned to the table where the rest of the family was seated.
"We'll just go ahead without him, " Mr. Jensen decided. They thanked the Lord for the food and began to eat. A few minutes later Jason came bounding down the stairs and plopped into his chair.
"Oh boy, " he began, "Macaroni and Cheese. My favorite!" He took a large forkful and stuffed it into his mouth. "Uh, " he mumbled, "it's kind of cold."
"It's no wonder, "Mr. Jensen said sternly. "You were called almost ten minutes ago."
"Ten minutes? It can't be that long. I was working on a model and I just needed a second to finish the wing."
"Well, I'm surely glad that God does not adjust all the clocks in the world to your seconds. This one stretched into almost ten minutes ... that would be 600 of our kind of seconds."
Jason looked a little embarrassed. "Boy, I'm sorry, Dad ... Mom. The time just flew by."
"Punctuality is a virtue, " Mrs. Jensen added. "And so is obedience."
"That's right, " Mr. Jensen remarked. "Remember the saying - to delay is to disobey-?" I trust that we won't have you responding so slowly again."
"I'll really work at it. I promise I won't be a second late."
"With that new watch you got for your birthday, you should be able to keep that promise exactly." Julie inserted. "It sure is a nice one. I'll bet it cost a fortune."
Mr. Jensen smiled. "It is a nice watch but I admit it was not expensive. They are able to make very accurate watches now that don't cost a lot."
"Yah, I wanted to ask you about that, Dad, " Jason said between mouthfuls. "It says 'quartz' on it. Is that the same kind of quartz as that white rock in my rock collection?"
"Same thing, " Mr. Jensen assured him. "They just take a very small piece of quartz and run a tiny electric charge through it. The quartz then vibrates and these vibrations determine when the numbers change."
"Oh, you mean one vibration every second?" Jason asked.
"No, no. A lot more than that. Sissy, how many do you think there are in a second?"
"I don't know. Maybe ten or twenty?" Julie guessed.
"Nope, you're way off too. The quartz vibrates about 30, 000 times every second."
"Thirty thousand?!" The twins responded in unison.
"Yup. And clocks using quartz crystals can be accurate to within one second a year."
"Wow!" Jason remarked. "Nobody would need to be more accurate than that."
"Oh, that's not true." Mr. Jensen corrected. "Scientists often need time measurement to be much more accurate. Before the year 1967, scientists defined a second as a fraction of the year 1900. Now, however, they have developed a clock that is so accurate that it will not be off more than a second in one thousand
years! This clock measure the vibrations of an element called cesium which vibrates over nine billion times every second."
"That blows my mind, " Jason admitted. "How could so much be going on during only one second?"
"Well, there are lots of things you could do in a second also. You could make a choice that would affect you for years to come for instance. Every second your heart beats to keep you alive. In a few seconds you could say a kind word or something that would hurt another for years. And then, it only takes a second to die, doesn't it?"
"And it only takes a second to decide to delay obedience for 'just a second, " Mrs.
Jensen added.
"Yes, " Mr. Jensen agreed. "All this shows how orderly and dependable God is. He is never too late with any promise in His Word."
"Yah, " Jason responded. "For God to make everything so exact must mean that time is important to Him. I'm really going to work on getting my seconds matched up with His."

Totally interesting facts about time:
A 'jiffy' is actually .001 seconds.
For a while a second was officially 1/86, 400th of a mean solar day. In 1956 a second was officially defined as 1/31, 556, 925.9647th of the year 1900 at 12 hours.
In 1964 a second was redefined as 9, 192, 631, 770 vibrations of a cesium-133 atom.
Does that help you set your watch?
To help us understand what a billion is, consider this: if you were to start counting to a billion today at a rate of one count every second, and you did nothing else day and night, it would take you 31.7 years to accomplish it. If you only did it when you are awake, you would probably never finish. A billion one-dollar bills stacked up would reach 68 miles high!

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