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.