Despite my best efforts, I still struggle to slow down the speed of my family’s life. It’s not quite at the “no wake zone,” but it’s (usually) not full-throttle, either.
On one hand, I strongly believe in the value of free time, of not living by a schedule. My favorite days are lazy Sundays, where we’ve got nothing planned and nowhere to go. We might lounge around reading the newspaper, watching football, baking cookies or playing board games.
On the other hand, I want my family to enjoy life’s buffet of activities. Right now, we’re into soccer, Cub Scouts, football, trumpet practice, religious education classes, book club, math club, volunteering, and coaching. We strive for balance, yet we struggle with which activities to say “no” to. Should we give sports a time-out and say good-bye to exercise and teamwork? Should we kick the Cub Scout habit and dismiss all the great values it reinforces? Should we give book club the boot and kiss the benefits of reading for pleasure goodbye? Should we toss the trumpet and downplay the importance of music in our lives? Should we be more selfish with our time and not volunteer at our kids’ schools or coach their sports teams?
The answer lies in setting priorities, doing things in moderation and striking the right balance. We spread out our commitments over the course of the year so we’re participating in enough activities that enrich us while still holding sacred enough free time to keep us sane. We usually limit the boys to one sport at a time. We rarely experience a jam-packed day that keeps us running from one activity to the next. Most days, Trevor and Parker have plenty of free time to ride their bikes, draw, kick a soccer ball or read a book. Most nights, we eat dinner together, followed by a family walk, card game, reading or simply chilling out on the couch together watching TV. We’re relaxed, happy and (usually) enjoying each other’s company without the pressure of a schedule dictating our pace and our moods.
It’s in these consistent, unhurried moments that we strengthen our family bond. How do you fortify your family connection?
Lisa A. Beach
SPARK Mom & Founder
Stop coaching? Don’t even put that pressure on me.