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Back To Basics

Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
         Than a house full of feasting with strife.
Proverbs 17:1

There is something to be said for practicing what you preach.  This past week, I began facilitating a parenting class based on a book by Tim Kimmel, Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right.  The title is a bit misleading.  There’s no guarantee that your children will grow up to be independent, fulfilled, happy, well-adjusted, gifted, powerful individuals.  What it does do, though, is equip parents with strategies and ideas to improve the core family values and rethink the way we interact with our children.

Our first lesson hit home.  It was on overscheduling and allowing outside factors in our lives become priority over our families, and teaching our children the exact same lesson.  This is pretty much the way I work: I’m on everyone else’s clock but my own.  I work two jobs outside the home, then there’s my church commitments (and there are many), keeping up with the kids and their activities, running the house, and that leaves very little time to be me – to write, to ponder, to enjoy my life.  There’s not much left to enjoy.

So many times we, as parents, get wrapped up in our children’s activites, taking on more and more, and still try to keep up with “our” stuff.  And the family feels it.  Being half-good at doing everything isn’t nearly as beneficial as being really good at just a few things.

I challenge you to take a look at your week.  To see what is going on in your life, your family’s life, and all the stuff in between.  What is really important?  What can take a back seat, either for now or forever?  Make a change in one thing in your everyday life and see what kind of an impact it can make on your relationship with your family.

Finding Rest For The Weary

Once again, our calendar for the fall overfloweth.  And, that’s just with my older son.  Cub Scouts, our mid-week ministry at our church, piano lessons, baseball practice and games…and that’s not even touching homework and chores.  Throw into the mix my husband’s frequent business trips, my younger son’s preschool and gymnastics schedule, and my insane world of three jobs, a bunko group, church choir, and teaching a parenting class at our church, and you have the makings for a bit of stress.

While there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it now, there is something we can do in the future.  That is, we can plan our rest.  Now, that might seem silly, but being the overplanner I am, it is necessary.  And, it is VERY easy to do. 

Our schedule is posted on the refrigerator.  I have a monthly calendar that puts each person on their own column, and at a glance I can see who needs to be where and when.  I know of others who use different colored pens on their calendars to denote each person’s events.  There are tons of ways to organize your family’s busy schedule.

To plan a “rest” for my family, I take a dark pencil (and always in pencil because, while I don’t like to eliminate our rest time, sometimes things happen and you have to make changes) and I shade in whatever day will be our rest days.  This fall, our “rest” is on Fridays after school. That’s our family time, our down time.  Last Spring, our “rest” was on Tuesdays.  It can vary, you can take more than one day, but the important thing is to take it.  Make it a point not to schedule meetings or playdates or anything on those days.

That doesn’t mean you don’t do ANYTHING.  Sometimes, we go to our nearby zoo.  Other times, we piddle around the house or head to a local park.  The point is to spend time together and not running back and forth to one event or another.

I hope your family finds lots of time to rest when things get crazy, whether you have to schedule it or not.  If you can’t enjoy each other, then what is all of it for?

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