In order for life to be fulfilling it doesn’t have to be busy. The task of balancing family life, work life and all the other “lives” parents often find themselves juggling, can be very overwhelming. As a mother of 4, my life became more manageable when I realized it was okay to say no to my children.
A couple of years ago I made the decision to enroll both of my daughters in a softball league. As a first time softball mom I didn’t realize the predicament I had just put myself in. Two daughters, two different teams and one night for softball games…how in the world was I going to manage getting them to games in rural Texas on my own? Thankfully other more experienced mothers came to my aid and helped in transporting one child or the other. However, this defeated the purpose of signing my kids up in the first place. Hadn’t the plan been to be able to enjoy watching my kids play and learn the game? Instead I was consumed with making carpooling arrangements and then annoyed that I missed my kids' big moments. This is when I realized that the following years would be different.
Today each of my kids participates in a sport and is involved with the area’s local FFA program. My oldest daughter is also taking guitar lessons; thankfully her teacher does house calls! Our family is expected to be THEIR best (notice I didn’t say THE best although what parent doesn’t like to see their kids at the top) in whatever activity they are participating in. We tell them that they are a Johnson and that their name is worth something and they need to behave in a manner that reflects who they are.
My kids aren’t deprived or missing out on life because they aren’t in every sport offered to them, or on every committee at school. Instead, I see them truly living, enjoying God’s creation, and having time to be a kid with their friends. I see them making memories, not stressing over where they have to be next or what they’re missing because of other commitments. I see them learning life lessons through intentional interaction and gaining the respect from those in our community. I see them succeeding without being stretched in a million different directions. But I realize this is not the norm…
It’s common in society today to have your kids enrolled in every program and sport possible. We keep our kids and ourselves busy beyond belief with extracurricular activities telling ourselves that they will make our children better contributors in life. But is it really? My challenge to parents is to really look at the activities that are keeping your family on the go? Do they all need to stay or are there some that could be done away with? Are these activities adding value to your family life or are they just an added source of stress and worry (for yourself and your kids)? The next time you find yourself rushing out the door to the next activity I encourage you to S.T.O.P.
Talk to your kids about what and why they want to do certain activities.
Omit the unimportant or unnecessary.
Plunge into the abundant life that awaits as you spend quality time watching your kids succeed.
Let’s not forget to teach our kids the value in being great at something and let’s stop forcing them to be okay at many things! It’s time we do our kids a favor and start saying no! Trust me your sanity and your schedule will thank you!