Does your family’s schedule seem out of control? Is everyone going in a million directions? Are those directions all different? Mom, are you tired? Are your kids tired? Does it feel like your kids are too busy to just be kids? Is your family too busy for you to enjoy being a mom? Perhaps it is time to take a hard look at your schedule and decide if it is the right fit for your family. You might need to prune your schedule to bring the blossom back to your life.
Prune your Schedule: Choose your Schedule, Don’t let it Choose You
Many times our schedules just fill up. We add this activity or this experience, and suddenly our schedules are filled to overflowing. We act as though time is flexible and not fixed. Can we stretch this night to add just one more thing? Can we expand those hours to allow this other thing? The truth is that there are only 24 hours in a day and some of those we have to use for sleeping.
We need to be realistic about how much time we have and set a time budget. We have to be honest about how much time our chores, work, and activities take. Then, we need to physically plot them out and see if there is enough time for all of our wish items.
Prune your Schedule: What is Pruning?
If you are like most families, you schedule will need pruning. What is pruning? Gardeners use a sharp knife or pruning shears to remove a part of a plant. There many benefits to healthy pruning which include preventing disease, increasing the quality of the fruit, and overall health of the plant. It seems counterintuitive that cutting a plant can actually be good for it but the right cuts can make all the difference in improving a plant’s health.
Prune your Schedule: Choosing the Best
Indeed, for many families are schedules resemble an out of control plant. Clearly, there are so many extra good activities competing for energy and crowding out the best activities. There are lots of good activities out there but what activities are the best for your family?
Good gardeners prune their plants in order to direct its energy in the best ways. Instead of dividing it energy in too many places, pruning works to concentrate the plant’s energy into a few really good places. This concentration provides for better and larger fruit. As Christians, we too produce better fruit when we are intentional about focusing our energy.
We want the best for our children and we live that out by trying to give them everything. Instead, we need to go deep instead of wide. We need to encourage our children to pursue excellence in a few things rather than many things at a very shallow level. The growth and mastery of learning how to do something with excellence grow a child’s confidence in trying new things and sticking with them in the future. We want our children to uncover new talents and interests, but that doesn’t all have to be done in childhood. We have a lifetime to explore the goodness of God’s creation and the unique gifts that He has imparted to each of us.
Prune your Schedule: Pruning improves Light & Air Circulation to Prevent Disease
Does your schedule have any light in it? Is there any room to breathe? We call this space margins. We need margins for when things don’t go as planned or the unexpected comes up. Sabbath is a form of margin given to us by God. Sabbath allows us the opportunity to cease from our labors and enjoy life.
This margin & sabbath prevent disease and brokenness in our lives. Margin reduces our stress, which improves our health and happiness. Margin gives us the flexibility to recover when our schedules fall apart. Breathing room gives us the opportunity for joy to return to our lives.
Prune your Schedule: Pruning for the Best Fruit
What is the goal of all of these activities for our children? What is the goal of our busyness?
Are you trying to prove your value to others? Are you trying to live through our children? Have you fallen into the trap of trying to keep up with what others are doing? Do we think our child has to be a sports star in order to have a successful life?
The most important fruit in our lives are healthy relationships: with God and with one another. If we are busy and the time with no margins, we don’t have time to work on building relationships. Truthfully, the Devil likes it that way.
If you are so busy getting school work done, chores, and driving from this practice to this practice – then you don’t have time for the quality and quantity of conversations needed to pass on vibrant faith. Quality conversations and time spent with mom and dad will teach more positive values and prepare your child better for life than any other activity.
Prune your Schedule: What to Prune?
- Focus on activities that develop life-long skills.
- Double up on activities that your children can do together. This saves time and energy for mom and dad.
- Cultivate lifelong learners so that they will feel confident to try new things when they are older not just as children.
- Build in margins and sabbath. These provide the breathing room for quality conversations and relationship building. Sports and other activities are for a season, but we are building relationships to last for years.
- Pray about what is best for your family. You don’t need to prove your worth or value to anyone else by what you or your children do. Godly families may appear strange to the rest of the world and that is okay. We are called to be set apart and to choose God’s ways of living right. It may feel awkward at first, you may feel like a limb is missing. Pruning is good for you and your family. It will help you focus your time and energy on the best things to which God is calling you.
Finally, what are you going to prune in your schedule? What good fruit do you want to see grow?
Need to prune your child’s closet. Check out my post on dealing with their clutter. The Blessing & Curse of Hand-Me-Down Clothes. You can also find more ideas to make family life easier in this article: Top 7 Reasons for Families to Choose White Corelle.