Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Calendar Tetris

You know the game. You try to fit each piece in place perfectly to earn as many points as possible before the page fills up and it all shatters apart.

This is my life in high school.

This past month has been exciting, stressful, exhilarating, overwhelming, fun, and emotional. Twenty-one days into March and I’ve already run through most of the available emotions.

We hadn’t realized it, but we’ve been steadily adding activities to our schedule since January. More youth group events, Bible studies, sports, hanging out with friends, and the usual timewasters like Facebook and Fruit Ninja on the Ipod (My high score is in the six digits. Yes, I’m that good…at wasting time.)

All the activities, except maybe the screen time, are good activities. But let’s face it, sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing for family life.

Calendar Tetris. This is what my dad calls it when we’re so busy and that we have no time to relax and spend time as a family. When we’re hopping from one activity to the next, going from schoolwork to sports to church then to bed. We do it because we don’t want to miss out on anything, but there is little peace and no relaxation when we get caught in this cycle.

On Sunday afternoon my dad called a family meeting. He brought up the point that we (especially my brother and I) have been over-committing ourselves to a lot of different events. My dad said that although all the activities and groups we have been a part of are good, we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. We’ve given so much of our time that there is very little time left for family.

At the family meeting we each listed the 5 things most important to us. Oddly enough, most of us came up with the same priorities.

1. Our faith, specifically time spent in God’s Word together in our home, but including a feeling of commitment to the community church we are a part of.
2. Family Fun, including bonfires, biking, walking to Kaleidascoops to get an icecream; simple things that don’t take a lot of time, but make a good memory and draw us close.
3. Education. A no-brainer. As a home school family, this is always a top priority.
4. Sports, particularly our Osseo team sports throughout the year. Added to this is a desire for our whole family to be physically fit.
5. Our extended family and friends.

When things start to get really busy, it helps to have a meeting like this to get us all on one page so that we can make decisions about what gets added to our calendar. We take each activity and measure it against our list of priorities and all of a sudden making decisions on what goes and what stays isn’t nearly as confusing. Our resources of time and money only get put toward the priority areas.

So if you are as busy as we’ve been over the past few weeks, call a family meeting. You may be surprised by how similar you and your family members are in your priorities once you’re all on one page.

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