When our oldest son was almost five years old, my husband and I met some neighbors in the hallway of our apartment building. After we introduced ourselves, one neighbor looked at our son and said, “So this is Hurry Up Benny!” It seems that the only thing we had ever said in that resonating hallway was “Hurry up, Benny!” on the way from our door to the car.
Do you have many activities that keep you rushing from the door to the car? Is your time being gobbled up by the restless speed of your life? Do you find yourself saying, “I’m slowing down after ____________”? (You fill in the blank.)
We homeschooling mothers are big-hearted and generous. We want our children to have the best education we can muster, including sports, choirs, drama, and music lessons. We say to ourselves, “If I am a good homeschooling mother, then my children will be involved in lots of classes and extracurricular activities.”
Do not make that mistake; it is not true.
Thomas `a Kempis, author of the lovely book Of the Imitation of Christ, warns us that “We lie so entangled that we are but seldom able to contemplate heavenly things.” Are we too busy to contemplate heavenly things? Are our children too busy?
One day the students in my literature class were recounting to me all the classes and activities they were involved in. I asked, “When do you have time to think?” They all laughed.
There’s something wrong with this picture.
But I wasn’t much better. Though I have at different times in my homeschool life taught Sunday school classes, written and directed Easter dramas, been the coordinator for a forty-family homeschool group, participated in various homeschool groups, started an educational homeschool group in a county where there was none, and taught classes, I felt God calling me to step away from the level of activity I was involved in. I felt God calling me to slow down.
This was chilling to my pride because I felt I was capable of balancing many activities at once. Yes, it was very humbling to be less involved! But God called me to slow down, and the benefits of this new lifestyle were both spiritual and practical.
I found time to spend with God. I no longer had to scrape together five minutes to shoot God a short e-mail. Thomas `a Kempis is right: “If thou withdraw thyself from trifling conversation and idle goings about, as well as from novelties and gossip, thou shalt find thy time sufficient and apt for good meditation.”
I found time to sit and listen to my children when they were in the mood to talk. I invited people over for a meal or a dessert. I enjoyed a campfire in the back yard with my husband and listened to his dreams. I had time to think, to cook suppers to eat together at the end of the day, to teach my children how to be silent in a clamoring world so they, too, may hear the voice of God.
You might want to . . .
Set quiet times in your home when music, radios, TVs, computers, video games, tablets, and phones are off and when no one has to go anywhere or be driven somewhere.
Make intentional decisions about activities. My husband and I decided to allow only one child at a time to participate in a sport, thereby cutting down my driving and away-from-home time. We also decided to allow only one teen at a time to have a job (before getting a driver’s license), and we asked that teen to request certain hours. If the company wouldn’t work with those hours, the teen was to move on to another job. I am the mother. I do not have to bow to the expectations of an employer.
Slowing down was painfully humbling. When I forgot that fact, I made myself remember the terrible pride I felt the last time I listed for someone the things my children and I were involved in. If we consider that we can be less occupied with the things of this world so that we can be more occupied with eternal things, then it will be easier to attain our goal of a simpler, more satisfying life. As Paul advises in II Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal” (NIV).
Don’t let your children grow up looking at the back of your head while you drive them places. Daniel 12 states that in the last days, “many will run to and fro.” That doesn’t mean that we who have the words of life have to do the running. Let those who have no god run to and fro; then we who have developed inner resources and an ear for God’s voice can minister to them.
Yours for a more vibrant homeschool,
Copyright © 2014-15 by Sharon Watson
Tulip image © 2014 Sharon Watson
How do you feel about the pace of your life? Any suggestions?
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