Thursday, September 29, 2011
Struggle for Simple - Part 4
We've thought a lot about our kids' involvement in sports and other activities. Just this past summer, only our oldest was involved in baseball - simple, non-traveling 2nd grade baseball - and it was a BIG deal and took away two weekday evenings from home life. In another 5 years or so, we could potentially have 5 children involved in one thing or another and never see each other. Even if they each just chose one thing.
Families are so busy nowadays. I wonder what Jesus thinks of this. A century ago, I would have been washing everyone's clothes by hand, cooking dinner over a woodburning stove, washing each dish by hand, and saddling up the horse whenever I needed to go somewhere. Yet with all the time saved by all of our modern conveniences, we lead almost frantically busy lives.
It's a ploy, you know. A subtle, well-planned ploy from the enemy to distract us from what's important (the time is shorter each day) and to pull us away from family, a hugely attacked, God-ordained and designed function.
We've decided as a family that for the foreseeable future, our children will not be involved in any outside activities with the exception of the occasional church-related one (this year, it's Children's Choir) and swimming lessons.
Swimming lessons are my exception to our rule because it's a life skill, it's a passion for the boys, and the lessons are once a week in the morning so it doesn't take away from family time. We all go to watch, except Daddy who's at work. And come January, all five boys will be swimming at the exact same time. A blessing in itself that helps the plan for family time work. In fact, since we are a homeschooling family, we often get the privilege of private lessons because we're the only one who's signed up for that particular time slot.
So our boys will be in sports. They will just take place in our own backyard with each other as teammates. Eventually I'm sure one or more will be interested in learning another instrument besides piano, but we'll deal with that when it comes. For the most part, we're trying to hold our weekday evenings sacred as family together time that happens regularly enough not to be awkward and to be able to hold to somewhat of a routine, like singing time or prayer time or Bible time. It provides us with the time to get to know each other and how we function as a group. Yes, I get stir-crazy sometimes. But I've found that the more I'm away - and away includes drive time for the boys - the more I want to be away - because away is easy. Away gives you the sense that you're doing more for your kids as a parent than you actually are. It's easy to feel like you're sacrificing for them when you're spending your days running them here and there, making sure they have this gear and that, anxiously filling their schedules so they don't miss out on something important.
There will always be things that seem so important, so critical to your child's development and future career path.
The one thing necessary is the family.
It's so hard. I mean, really really hard. But in saying no to temptation and yes to what the Lord wants for our family, I have faith that He will bless it. In spite of us.
So now, I'd like to present our 2-year-old gymnastics class.