“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial.”
I Corinthians 6:12
Our oldest child, Daniel, made a grand pronouncement one morning upon learning that we all had to go to church early, and stay through three services, because of our ministry commitments. “You are spread way too thin! You people are like good jelly that’s wasted by being spread too thin on a big piece of toast. Nobody can taste how good you are. Why don’t you work on spreading yourselves THICK!”
Wow! Out of the mouths of babes… (Well, not exactly a babe at fourteen, but wise beyond his years.) We made a decision to “spread ourselves thick” and prayerfully simplified our lives over the next few months.
As you are jumping into another school year, with all its demands and activities, this is the perfect time to stop and evaluate your time commitments. You would do anything to protect your family from physical danger, financial ruin, or immoral influences, but it is easy to be oblivious to the danger of excessive busyness that robs you of vital peace and connection. Researcher and author, William Doherty, PhD stated:
“Decades of research show that strong family bonds are the most important ingredient in successful childhood, and we know that a good deal of family time is necessary for these close family bonds. No amount of other activities can substitute for missed family dinners, bedtime talks, weekend outings, family vacations, and just time to hang out together. These are the most important ‘opportunities’ we provide for our children. (Isn’t it strange that the term ‘opportunity’ has come to mean something that our children do away from their family?)”
So remember this truth: A close relationship with you is the best opportunity you can give your child! Building quality relationships requires time and a peaceful heart. Consider these questions as you decide where you will spend your energy this coming school year:
- Is our level of busyness causing our whole family to feel stressed or disconnected from each other?
- Will an activity I’m considering deepen my relationship with God and be a good fit for my gifts, or will it drain me or distract me from God’s true purposes for me?
- Are the commitments I make to my children’s activities a deterrent to their (or my) well-being and spiritual development?
Don’t waste the “jelly” of your gifts and energy by spreading yourself too thin. Prayerfully consider how God is calling you and your family to spend your time and focus on spreading yourselves thick!
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