We Can Sign Up for This, That, and the Other Thing

It’s that time of year again when sign-ups abound.

We can sign up for AWANAS.
We can sign up for music lessons.
We can sign up for PTA or boosters.
We can sign up to help in the classroom.
We can sign up for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.
We can sign up for every sport under the sun – especially with year-round club sports.

And this is to say nothing of the myriad of fun choices my teenage daughter could sign up for, all of which have a direct impact on our family life.

Every thing we sign up for is just one more thing to add to the weekly calendar. And the hard part is that it’s all good stuff. All of it. Too many good things, however, prevent us from doing a few things great. Moreover, too many commitments, in our household at least, translate into a more chaotic, and a less peaceful, lifestyle.

In recent years, I have been on a mission to sign up less and less. It’s been noticeably worth it. These choices have helped sustain a more reasonable and more enjoyable pace for our family life.

The only time things were truly hectic around here was when I taught full-time a year and a half ago. It was necessary. And for some, it still is. All of our situations are unique, which is very understandable. We can only do the best we can with what we have to work with.

For me, choosing a simpler life includes choosing fewer things to participate in. Or, perhaps it means choosing the right things to participate in. This is especially so, considering that I am returning to the classroom this fall, but only on a part-time basis.

The choices are many. But there is one thing that helps me decide which new choices I can make. I am committed to having dinner at the table at least four times a week with every member of our family present. This gets harder the older the kids get. So when other commitments begin to infringe upon this single priority, then I know I cannot take on anything else.

Sometimes my 16-year-old will ask, “Mom, since we’re not doing anything tonight, can I . . . (fill in the blank)?”

“Oh, but we ARE doing something tonight. We are having dinner together at the table.”

She may not understand now why this is so important to me. That’s okay. I’m sticking to it.

With all the possibilities available, how do you choose
which things you will participate in and which things you will pass on?

10 thoughts on “We Can Sign Up for This, That, and the Other Thing

  1. Pingback: Keeping a Slower Pace on a Simpler Path | Denise J. Hughes

  2. Pingback: Keeping a Slower Pace on a Simpler Path | Denise J. Hughes

  3. We've also chosen a bit slower lifestyle than many of our contemporaries. There's a lot of pressure to have the children involved in so many activities. The Schrocks are swimming against the flow on this one and aren't sorry for the choice. 🙂

  4. Oh been there and there again…I know I put 100ks miles on my cars when the first four were teens, and I still have no clue how we did it all…then came the season of nothing, oh that was boring, and now we are deciding again what to do with our teen and a five year old. It is always a balancing act.

    Blessings as you balance your family and what is right for all of you…I don't think anyone turns back and says we didn't do enough, they usually say “we did too much” and should have had more family time.

    Thanks for stopping by this gray hair bloggers site…and do, have fun with the vinyl letters!

  5. Hi, Many thanks for coming over to my blog and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it.
    I can really relate to your post here. I love dinner time when everybody is around the table, it's a time for discussion and laughter. I have appreciated it more now the girls have got older as I realise they have more going on in their lives – work commitments etc.

  6. Warren recommended your blog to me. I'm glad he did. I like how you said that too many good things prevent us from doing great things. That's so true.

    Since I started writing I've had to cut out many things. I ask God to show me what to sign my kids up for and volunteer for. As I follow what He wants me to do, I enjoy my days more. It used to be stressful running my kids all over the place and volunteering for everything. It's great focusing only on what God wants for our family. After all, His burden is light:)

    Thanks for the great post! God bless your family:)

  7. You and Jeff are so wise. Your kids will look back to the dinner discussions as some of the most enjoyable and beneficial times of their formative years.

    As one who just took his last child to college two weeks ago, 12 hours away, I can tell you that quiet nights at home with the kids and parents is not “doing nothing.” It is doing life.

    Great post, as always. You have a fantastic blog. I'm sorry that other commitments are keeping me from visiting the blogs I like as often as I like. But, one of those commitments this summer was a kid at home, for her last summer.

  8. For most every night my children were living at home we ate our dinner around the family table. With sports and student council activities intruding we sometimes ate very late around the table. But there we discussed the best and worst thing that happened to each of them that day. We connected and confided with each other. We wove our family threads into a tight and loving circle that continues to bind us ever close. I am all for knowing where to draw the line and always eat as a family…bottom line…line in the sand…whatever you want to name it. You go girl!

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