Less “Yes” for My Family’s Best

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I didn’t realize how obviously distracted I was until a friend at church approached me saying that I looked like I needed a hug.

Despite being at worship I was preoccopied with several weighty matters and the busy day ahead. I wanted nothing more than an afternoon by the pool or reading in my favorite chair, but this particular Sunday was not a normal one for me so instead of looking forward to a “Day of Rest” I was stressed, which fired me up about why keeping a down day/family day is important to me.

Our lives are busy.  And the older our kids get, the more their activities and social lives effect the families’ schedule.  Case in point last weekend when my youngest son alone had opportunities to go to the trampoline park, a birthday party, a football game, a social for the teen board he serves on, and a spend the night. All of this on top of us being out of town all day Saturday. But in his mind, everything on Friday night and Sunday was totally possible and therefore no reason not to say “yes.”

Possible? Yes, the activities did not all conflict with each other.

Good?  No, not for him or for our family!

Why Constant Busyness Does Not Serve Him Well

If we permit our son to do everything he wants, we reinforce his desire for instant gratification and feed into the false notion that “life” is found in happiness and fun. But he, along with most of his generation, haven’t learned how to cope with “boring” and find joy in the mundane. For that matter he/they don’t even know how to be alone, as evident by his phone addiction. And we aren’t helping.

Instead of allowing for downtime as good for their souls – physically, emotionally and spiritually, we tend to bend to their every whim at the sacrifice of our own rest.  And without realizing what we are doing, we drive our kids to self-centeredness and entitlement.

As if that isn’t frightening enough, by allowing my son to do or have everything he wants I’m afraid it will only lead to lack of contentment and dissatisfacton in adulthood. I know this may seem extreme to project on a seventh grade kid, but…

  • What happens when his job gets hard?
  • When he feels trapped by his wife, or weary with his kids?
  • When he grows tired of responsibilities or the mundane tasks of life?
  • Will he fall prey to the lie that the grass is greener and something different,  bigger or more will be better?

What we do now will shape our kids – for good or for ill. So I can’t help thinking sometimes less “yes” is for his best.

Why Constant Busyness Does Not Serve Our Family Well

Speaking of the future, as we’ve seen with our daughter – it comes quickly.  And in another six short years, my nest will be empty. That means we have less than six years to “train up our (boys) in the ways (we pray) they shall go.” Day in and day out work for sure! So though I want my kids to excel in sports, do well academically, be involved at school and have fun social lives these things are not what matters most to me for their long-term best.

What I hope to raise is adult children who:

  • Know their need for Jesus
  • Live a life of repentance
  • Love the church
  • Look out for the interests of others above themselves
  • Cherish our family and their future families and see “home” as the safest place.

It is these things we must keep in mind as we make decisions regarding our time. Church, family time, purposeful conversations cannot be an after-thought, but our first thought.

Therefore, I don’t want my kids too scheduled to miss developing a love for church or to be too exhasuted from the week/weekend to engage with family.  It means prioritizing the sibling relationships and not always allowing them to go their separate ways or to isolate themselves in their rooms. It means sometimes saying “no” to good things regardless of what everyone else may be doing. It takes remembering less “yes” is for our family’s best.

When I asked my daughter if she had any advice for her brothers or younger teenagers as it pertains to anything she regrets she sent me this text…

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Sometimes it takes growing up to appreciate what you have. But while we still have time with the boys at home, by God’s grace I want to say “yes” to our moments together and less “yes” to what detracts.

 

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