I need to draw a line in the sand.
It’s not an easy line to draw.
This mark, this line, is antithetical to what I perceive as society’s view of normal.
That view, that belief? That normal = busy.
It feels as if the measure of success for families is directly proportional to the level of activities participated in.
Is it too busy? At what point do we begin to lose the beauty of family? For instance, we are spending over 40 hours a week on busy activities. Driving here and there — racing around, dropping off, picking up — living with each other in bursts of conversations. And now, we’re exhausted. But more importantly I’ve noticed that we’re losing family.
There are fewer dinners gathered around our too small table.
With fewer dinners together there’s fewer times cooking together, playing games together, listening to each other and praying together.
I need to draw that line.
But, it’s hard. That line represents saying no to activities that on their own are excellent. Yet added together these beautiful excursions subtly invade every facet of our lives. What do I want my children to remember? The frenetic, crazy life? Or the simplicity of breaking bread together. Or serving others. Being together.
Deep down, I want family. I want to reclaim what has been subtly taken from me in the disguise of “your kids need to do all these things” to have a happy and filled childhood. I’m beginning to believe otherwise. My children want family. Yes, they love their activities, but deep down? They love laughing with each other. Learning. Reading. Spending time together.
We’re given a finite time with our children in our homes. Sadly, I’ve allowed the so called urgent needs to displace our own fellowship. I’ve been pondering what they’ll remember when they are adults — is it better to remember being involved in hours of activities? — or is it better to see parents who said “no” and created memories together as a family?
I just need the courage, the boldness, to draw that line.
To rest securely in being different, knowing that for our family, it’s what’s needed.
I need to reclaim family.
How about you? My challenge — look at your life, your schedule, your day — where do you need to pare back, to reclaim your family? Your family, your kids — they’re only young –once.
(all of these pictures were taken today at the apple orchard. today we spent time together. as a family. and it was good.)