A few months ago we took our kids to Dollywood for the day. My son and I had a blast riding roller coasters. With all the twists and turns, my favorite part is screaming at the top of my lungs as the coaster dives into the abyss.
I’ll admit, there are days when our family schedule is so crazy I feel like I’m sitting in one of the coaster cars being whipped around one sharp curve after another. And I feel like screaming.
This past year we agreed to a few additional extra-curricular activities for our kids. And though we agreed to the sacrifice, the challenge of juggling the schedules can be exhausting. There are weeks when I juggle well… yet more often than not, I feel like I do nothing but drop balls and listen to another spinning plate crash to the floor.
Juggling is a tricky talent. Yet in busy seasons, juggle is what we do.
The past few weeks, we’ve talked about 5 Great Things You Can Do For Your Family in 2013. You can read about the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd here. The fourth great thing you can do for your child in 2013 is to take your crazy family schedule and ‘Create a Rhythm’.
Create a Rhythm is a value I learned that’s helped me understand how to make the most of the varying seasons of life. Whether life is busy or not, Create a Rhythm means to tap into the power of quality moments together, and build a sense of purpose through everyday experiences.
Create a Rhythm means looking at your daily routine as filled with opportunities to show your kids how to love God and love others.
What I love about this value is the idea that loving Christ is better “caught than taught”. It’s caught in the random moments when our kids are:
Driving home from practice
Getting ready for bed
It’s caught in the random conversations that point our kids toward a loving Heavenly Father.
But in order to Create a Rhythm that teaches our kids how to love God with all that we have, there are a few things parents must do:
Consider the Pattern – Busy seasons are inevitable. Yet ‘season’ implies a beginning and an end. If you find that life is consistently spent on ‘full tilt’ it may be necessary to let some activities/commitments go for a while. Though I’d love to believe I can fit it all in, I’ve learned that the most important areas of my life suffer when I’m overextended. Don’t allow your family to fall into a pattern with little down time or minimal time together. Learn to say no to too many outside commitments so you can say yes to family relationships.
Identify Opportunities – When you commit to activities, determine when you have family time on a weekly basis, when you will have alone time with each of your kids and when you have opportunities to build them up. Actually write these opportunities down.
For example, my daughter has Girl Scouts every other Tuesday. We’re in the car by ourselves for 10 minutes both ways. I have a window of opportunity to focus specifically on her. If I’m wise, I’ll protect that time and make the most of it. Though it’s brief, it is a great time to encourage her rather than talk on my phone.
Protect the Opportunities – Once you’ve identified your windows of opportunity, it’s critical to protect them. There is always something else competing for your time and attention. Fight the urge to be distracted from these opportunities. They are what you have in this season to invest in your relationship with your kids. Protect them.
As we step into 2013, consider how the value Create a Rhythm can benefit your family. Read more about Creating a Rhythm in the book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.