Friday, April 22, 2011

Birds of a Feather

I have learned the hard way that it is way too easy to become overcommitted with extracurricular activities that keep a family running. Many times these activities are wonderful opportunities but come at a high price to family life. Our family has had to learn to pull back and do less so that we can be home more. Some years back I found myself very stressed out because we always had to be somewhere, and I was running ragged. As our family kept growing it became harder and harder to keep up with that pace. The Lord had to basically hit me over the head and show me that I was too busy. I thought long and hard and realized that we could be missing the BEST at the cost of the GOOD. I decided that I did not want to be so busy that we never had time at home. I did not want to run so much that I was always an exhausted and stressed out Mama. We began slowly making some lifestyle changes and pulling back. This past year we pretty much went cold turkey and pulled out of everything. It was necessary as we transitioned into a new home and also had another baby. What a freeing and refreshing thing to not be bound by activities any longer. It is not that I am against activities; I am just saying that it is very easy for things to get out of balance. I am constantly going before the Lord and praying about the right balance for our family. I feel like more and more He is showing me that we need to be home a lot so that I have time to train the children and teach them to love and serve their family. One benefit is that the children learn to play together and to be each others best friends. Yes, we have plenty of sibling rivalry, but this is an opportunity for character training. The Lord has been training me all the while and teaching me to value time spent at home.
This past January I did prayerfully decide to allow Lauren and Gabriel to participate in a homeschool play. It was a great experience for them. I liked the fact that two children could benefit from the same activity. That always makes something more worthwhile than driving five children out for an activity that only benefits one child. Lauren was a parrot, and Gabriel was a woodpecker. The play was about differing traits of various birds. It was fun for our family to go watch them perform the play, and we were super proud of them. We may even participate in another play in the fall.

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