Our culture is so ridiculously busy. We have gone from an attitude of “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” to lives that are too busy to be concerned with anyone else but me. The tendency toward a packed schedule has been my life story. Even as a child, I was a extremely active: afterschool jobs, sports, music lessons, speech, drama, band, 4H, and church activities. There was rarely a day that I did not have an event to go to. And though I was busy and managed to stay out of trouble, looking back I can see that there was not a ton of quality family time. I was pretty consumed by me: what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go. I think that my crazy pace (though it was filled with many, many “good” things), enabled me to become very self-centered.
I am not advocating dropping all extracurriculars, afterschool jobs, and the like. We don’t want to be creating a generation of lazy bums. But I wonder if there is a happy medium to be had: a schedule that allows for kids explore their interests, but not at the cost of quality and quantity family time. Is there a sweet spot that allows our children to be active, but also creates space in their lives to appreciate rest and give of their time to others?
I think one of the serious dangers of not creating margin in our families is that we are not only being selfish with our own time, but we are also leading (by example) our children to be selfish with their time. Time is precious. Time is fleeting. And when we fill our schedules so full of activities that we have no flexibility to meet the needs of others, we have severely limited how God can use us to be a blessing in the lives of others. We have no space/availability to be about our Father’s business.
I think there are a few questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate whether or not we have entered the camp of “too busy, no margin”;
Do we have a day where we rest together as a family, with no commitments (a day of Sabbath)?
Do we regularly (not every day, but frequently) sit down at the dinner table and eat together as a family?
Are we spending more than an hour a day in the car driving to school or extracurricular activities?
Do we have evenings available in a week where we can show hospitality to others, either by opening our home or meeting people elsewhere for fellowship?
Do we have enough time in our day to bring a meal to someone in need, pray as a family for someone who is hurting, help someone move, or another random act of kindness?
I am absolutely convinced that when our kids are adults, they will not remember the gifts they received, or the trophies, medals and ribbons they earned. Those things will all collect dust somewhere and fade from memory. But the things they will treasure, that will stay with them forever, are the experiences they had with their family and friends. I want to make space for my children (who like me are sinful and selfish by nature) to learn to open their eyes to observe the needs of those around them, to use their minds and hearts to consider how they can meet those needs, and to use their time and abilities to meet those needs. But if I let my kids’ schedules get too full with no margin, there will literally be no space for our kids to learn that selflessness and practice sacrificial love. I can’t make my kids selfless, but I can create an environment in our daily lives that creates space for those opportunities to learn and practice selflessness, kindness, and rest.
If you want to see more about how I schedule our homeschool days, click on the link: How I Schedule Our Homeschool
What challenges does your family face in creating space for margin and rest in your home? Do you have any insights or tools that you can share with other Doing Life Deliberately readers so that they can have success in this area? PLEASE, share your thoughts below!! We’d love to hear from you!!
Until next time, keep Doing Life Deliberately!
Everyone has a different mental image of what homeschool is like. I’ve seen several amusing memes on Facebook and Pinterest. People who don’t homeschool often make assumptions about what it looks like- I definitely did. I was not homeschooled as a child- I attended public school for all of my education. My husband attended parochial school for all of his elementary and secondary education, so neither of us had any experience with homeschool prior to trying it ourselves. I envisioned a relaxed family reading books in their pajamas, with lots of freedom in their daily schedule to go and do as they pleased. My preconceived notions have proven both right and wrong in our own family.
If you are interested in homeschooling, but have never done it before, it can be difficult to picture what it actually looks like to homeschool. And even if you are an experienced homeschool family, it can still be fun to see what others are doing and gather ideas. You might find yourself wishing you could be a fly on the wall in someone else’s homeschool classroom. I sure felt that way before we got started. So today, I am inviting you to join our family for a typical homeschool day. Not all (or even most) homeschools look like ours. Each family’s homeschool takes on the personality of it’s teacher/principal/family: organized or spontaneous, orderly or messy, a room set aside for schooling or a kitchen table, a web-based program or a stack of library books, home-made curriculum or purchased lesson plans. How one runs their homeschool can look a thousand different ways- none of which is right or wrong- to meet the needs of their family. So… with that in mind, join us for a brief day in the life!
Post your questions and comments below- we look forward to hearing from you!