How To Keep From Being Too Busy: Making Decisions About Your Family’s Activities

Busy Mom
It’s amazing how busy a stay-at-home mom can be, and how much time a Homeschooler can be away from home! I’ve talked with a number of young parents recently, and a theme has recurred over and over.

“We’re really busy! But, it’s going to get better soon.”

“I’m trying to figure out what I can cut out.”

“We’re involved in so many good things, but I’m not sure we can keep it up–I’m so overwhelmed!”

God’s way is for fathers to teach their children and their children’s children His ways. (Psalm 78:1-4)  That takes strong families spending time together.

Here are just a few guidelines that we’ve used in our family to determine which, and how many, activities our family should be involved in:

1. Pray about what the Lord wants your family to be doing. Ask God, “What do You want us to do?” Have the courage to say, “No”!  Don’t believe the lie that, “If I don’t do it, no one else will.”  Maybe it’s ok for nobody to do it! And maybe God wants to cause someone else to do it, but you’re in the way. Remember: God has a plan for your family, and a unique message He desires to communicate through you. Don’t try to copy others.

2. Never say yes to a job or commitment without praying about it first, and preferably, sleeping on it overnight. Wives, always ask your husbands first. Put a note by the phone & computer that reminds you to respond, “I need to talk to my husband first. I’ll get back to you.” With his permission, let your husband be “the bad guy” and just say, “My husband doesn’t want me to do that (right now).” His shoulders are broader than yours, and most people will not question you further if your husband has made the decision for you or your family.

3. Determine ahead how many nights your family can have something going on per week, and stick to it. In our family, that number was no more than two nights a week with activities on the calendar. Stay home and get to know one another!

4. Concentrate on family, not individual, ministry and family activities. Each family member going in a different direction or trying to get different children to their separate events splits up the family, and quickly becomes overwhelming. When your children are little, make the decision not to get involved in organized sports or join activities that will be lifelong commitments, unless you feel very strongly led of the Lord to do so! My reason for saying that is that once you start, you establish a pattern, and then practice improves their skill, and they like it because they’re good at it, and it then is very hard to quit, even if you feel you should or want to.  It’s more difficult to quit later with every year of involvement, and the longer you’re involved, the more time and energy commitment will be required of you.

5. Let Dad decide the direction of the family, and let your husband lead.

6. Cause the hearts of the children to turn to the fathers. Plan for Dad to have time with his children. And do quiet activities. Time spent together where conversation can happen will result in Dad and Mom being able to disciple and train the children, and to talk about important things. When you’re at home, you’ll see the character issues in your children which need your attention, and be able to more consistently deal with them.

7. When you are at home, do activities that draw you all together and Power Off. Close the laptops, take the earbuds out, get off Facebook, turn off the TV, etc.  When we were raising our family, one day our TV went *ploof!* and didn’t work, and we chose not to fix or replace it. We didn’t allow our children to have a phone, computer, TV, or other electronics in their bedrooms. (Parents: Intentionally delay your child having electronics, cell phones, etc., in their lives. It will come, but you choose when. You have been given authority by God and it is your job. Please don’t let your 2 year old play games on your phone to keep her quiet.) We spent time together, and limited the screen time for our children. Slow down the pace, and create more peace and togetherness in your home.

Some ideas of Activities families can do together:

  • Read aloud together as a family. (e.g. As our children grew into the upper elementary and teen years especially, we read many true life missionary stories, which greatly impacted their faith. All through our homeschooling years, in the evenings we would read “living books” and historical fiction  that related to what we were studying in school, and it was a way to involve Dad.)
  • Play a game together:  include the little ones when possible.
  • Do creative activities together, explore nature, visit historic sites.
  • Do work projects around the house.
  • Make gifts for others.
  • Teach your children how to work with their hands; how to cook, organize, sew.
  • Learn a skill together: learn handwork such as cross stitch, needlepoint or hardanger, whittling and woodworking, toymaking for small children, beadwork, crocheting and knitting, an instrument, sewing, auto repair, art (drawing, experimenting using pastels, chalks, watercolor, or oils), puppetry. *Many of these are “lost arts” and that is so sad! You will have more mature, more creative children who will be in high demand as they grow older, for they will have confidence and patience and know how to work hard, plus have valuable skills.
8. Put into your day and week FIRST what is eternal (giving the firstfruits of your time to the Lord)  by spending your time on things that will last: People, and the Word of God .  Set your hearts, minds and affections on things above.  (“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8)  Make disciples, have Bible studies, and enjoy spirit-and-character-building activities first, and then if you have time, physical-building, amusement-type activities. Memorize Scripture. Study and then prepare a talk on a topic of interest and present it to the family. (Invite another family over, and have several presentations.) Let your children act out or do a puppet show depicting a Bible story. 

9. If your time is spent with others, make absolutely certain your companions are wise. (“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20) If you’re with non-believers, do activities that will allow you to share the Lord with them and for you to be able to still glorify the Lord–don’t even have the appearance of evil! (“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17)

If spending time with less mature believers, do things that will help all of you grow and mature spiritually. Talk about how you came to know the Lord, share your testimony, talk about things that matter. Watch a family-friendly video or one that will challenge your spiritual life.

10. Be intentional: Think of your long-term goals for your family. Will this activity help you achieve them? If others were to follow your example, would it be good and glorify the Lord? Do what is important, not just the urgent. (Read the little booklet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” by Charles Hummel.) Choose those things which are best, not just good.

The old saying, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy,” still holds true.

Most importantly, pray over your activities and involvements, and commit your way to the Lord, and He will direct your path. He wants to show you the way that you should go.

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Giveaway of Purposeful Planning

Giveaway closed

Well, I know everyone is still getting back into life after Christmas. Since there were no entries in the giveaway, there is no winner to announce, and I’ll talk to Phyllis and we’ll decide if we’ll do the giveaway at a later time or not.

Linked up today with the Homemaking Linkup at Raising Homemakers–join in!

There are a lot of great posts to read, and you can linkup your own!

Enter my

 

Giveaway

 

now to win the

New and revised: Purposeful Planning – E-Book

and Dan’s Doodles

 

It’s the time of year for setting goals and thinking about the future, things you’d like to do differently next year, making “resolutions” perhaps…planning.  I like to spend time thinking and praying, and not dive into anything.  I also like to do this several times a year.  For one example, I used to do “school-year planning” before our homeschool year began, and then I again would evaluate and take stock, setting new goals in January.

Would you like to be more intentional about where you’re headed, what you want to accomplish, and the goals you set? Would you think it a dream to sit down with your husband and really have his ear, and discuss your dreams, and goals? Would you like to include your family, and at least talk about how you’d like to see things be different?  Here is a great ebook by my dear friend, Phyllis Sather, that will help you and your family, called Purposeful Planning.  Phyllis has generously offered one copy for this giveaway, and also a copy of her husband’s popular “Dan’s Doodles”!  Read on for descriptions of each, and how to enter!

Purposeful Planning

Phyllis says:

This issue still contains all of our original material, but with the help and encouragement from our faithful readers and people who have put these methods into practice in their own families we have added even more suggestions and ideas.

We have also added more thought provoking questions to help you to relate well to each other and your children.

The goal is still the same: to discover the Lord’s plan for your family.

Does having your spouse’s undivided attention appeal to you? Planning weekends give you time to dream, to talk together about what you wish, or want, at a time when the other person is really listening.

Do you need a plan to keep your family moving in the direction the Lord is leading you? Perhaps you don’t know where the Lord is leading you. Phyllis takes you step-by-step through the process of planning a time together for your family to help determine the path the Lord is choosing for each area of your life. Her family has followed this format for over 12 years and has found that it provides the compass they’ve needed to plan and stay on course.

This time-tested method of planning will give your family new direction for the future. Start today! Choose the dates for your planning weekend, read her book which has the entire “how to” included, and go for it!

Finally, help to discover the Lord’s plan for your family.

Dan’s Doodles

For years my husband has been doodling every time he has to sit and listen for any length of time – sermons, teachings, school. One time our pastor thought he was taking great notes, until he saw his doodling. Over the years, 24 in July, I’ve come to think of it as art.

After posting some of them on my website several people suggested that they would make a great coloring book – so here it is! ! I’ve included a dozen of my favorite doodles in this first edition.

Reviews:

“Wow, I can’t believe this guy just doodles these kinds of pictures! Dan’s Doodles are very intricate, so not for the younger child, but tweens and up would have lots of fun coloring the designs. I also think it would spark the creativity of the artistic child to try and draw like this. Kelly”

“My 7 year old son and my 10 year old daughter both enjoyed these delightful doodles. The intricate designs lend themselves to long coloring sessions…perfect for long car trips or other “waiting” times. Fun enough to do more than once. Deb” 

How To Enter To Win

Mandatory:  Follow Faith’s Firm Foundation via Google Friend Connect.  If you already follow FFF, then it’s mandatory that you go to Proclaiming God’s Faithfulness (Phyllis’ blog) and follow her (www.phyllis-sather.com).  If right now you follow neither of us, then choose one of the two (or both) and follow and don’t forget to leave a comment for each thing you do!

One Additional Entry Each:

1. Share a goal or new year’s resolution in a comment (one that you would allow me to share with my readers as an example in a future post on goals, planning and the new year).

2. If you have not already done so, subscribe to Faith’s Firm Foundation via RSS or subscribe via email.

3. Visit Phyllis’ blog and go to her bookshop and tell me which item you would like to own and why.

This giveaway is open to all, and will close on January 7, 2012 at 11:59pm.  I will draw and announce the winner here on January 9, 2012.

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