Stress. Why are we stressed?
I don’t like it and I don’t want it.
I have had so many women, homeschooling and not, talk about this subject over the years, that I am compelled to discuss it in a little more depth.
We are all attempting to do something (raise a family) that has become more difficult (than it was 200 years ago) because of our indoctrination into the modern culture. We have many more things pulling on us today, taking our attention away from the child or the home or the husband. No big surprise there.
It Creeps Up
Aside from major life stresses such as change of work, a move, a death, a divorce – the biggies; we’ve got to remember that the “seemingly” smaller stresses can affect us in profound ways too. In fact, maybe more so, because they can insidiously creep up on us completely unnoticed.
Why Are We Stressed?
Three biggies come to my mind:
#1 – We are attending to details that maintain our convenience-oriented lifestyles i.e. having to fix any number of modern devices – dishwasher, car, bike, lamp switch, fan, faucet……
When we buy something now, one of my first thoughts is “does this item have the potential to break and then require fixing and will it be worth that hassle?”
#2 – We endure the rat race to “get the stuff” we think we have to have (nice house, nice cars, nice furniture, nice clothes, nice measuring cups, nice underwear, etc……….) OR we endure it to get out of debt from “getting the stuff.”
I love the line “We spend the first half of our life accumulating things and the last half of our life getting rid of them.”
#3 – Or we are being tempted by the myriad of activities AWAY from the home because we want to make sure little Johnny has an opportunity to try everything so we can see what he is good at…… even though he is only 6. Ugh. I’m worn out.
I Want To Talk About #3
We think “I want to be a good parent.” We think “I don’t want my children to miss out on any opportunities. I want to expose them to many areas so we can see where their talents lie.”
Whoa. Hold On. This is the beginning of the problem.
Society is doing another number on us here, Ladies.
And here it is:
If we don’t get our child involved in lots of outside activities
(or even just a few,) we will
what they were put on earth to do.
This is a lie.
Little thoughts and messages like these are dropped into our minds (from what WE allow in, through our eyes and our ears) and WE decide whether or not they will take root. Can we push them away? Or do they stay and build into something bigger?
Our Homes Become Chaotic
These ideas begin to create chaos in our lives, so that we have disharmony in our home, so that we REALLY don’t have time for the important things. In fact, we don’t even really know what the important things are anymore, because we have been so brainwashed into thinking it’s whatever the news, the celebrities or the stores say is hip, cool and a must-have or a must-do.
And we don’t notice it until it has gotten a stronghold in our homes. And marriages are falling apart. And children are depressed, or on ADHD drugs, or looking for love in all the wrong places.
Here is the spiritual basis of this issue
The devil (evil) wants to destroy the family because the family is the foundation of society. And if he can destroy us there, he can take over the world. The only way we can change that is to resist the temptations he puts out there. Resist what the culture tries to talk us in to. Pray. Ask God to convict us about how we are to proceed. Keep our families together. I mean daily. If we are running all over the place, when do we have time to sow the seeds of wisdom, right-living, character and work-ethic into our children. It has to be done every day, day after day, continuously. Don’t count on anyone else doing it. They won’t and they aren’t meant to.
So What Do We Do As A Family
Slow down. Cook together. Eat together. Read to each other. Play music together. Do plays. Make movies. Teach character and morality, how to get along with each other, or how to be a wife or a husband. Yes, teach them these things when they are 7 years old. How to respect each other’s position in the family. How to appreciate each other’s gifts. Things like that. Here is the nugget:
You Child’s Gift WILL Shine
But this will require patience on your part. And I know. You are listening to a mom who put her first child in Suzuki violin lessons, kindermusik and gymnastics class 4 MONTHS BEFORE SHE TURNED 2 YEARS OLD and all at the same time! That’s an older mama for you. Thinking “I waited this long, I’m going to do everything perfect.” Yikes. Can we please redefine “perfect?”
Let Me Give You A Good Illustration
My oldest is only 13 now, so I don’t really have a fully grown adult to prove my point. This is just my very serious hunch after seeing it work in many other families. But let me tell you about someone who does have the fruit of this kind of plan. My best friend and I went to a retreat for mom’s last year. It was put on by Above Rubies. Maybe you have heard of them. (You can go to aboverubies.org and sign up for their free newsletter. Every time mine arrives in the mail, I pour over it from front to back.)
Anyway, Nancy Campbell (the keynote speaker at these retreats,) the mother of 6 productive members of society and grandmother of many, told a story of how they moved to Nashville, TN when their daughters were in their late teens or early 20’s. Literally on a street corner during some kind of music festival someone was passing around a guitar as different people would play and sing something.
When the guitar reached the two daughters, they played and sang a duet. Well, somebody heard them and said you have to meet so-and-so. They end up in the office of a hi-powered music agent. He says, ok play the song. They do. He says, Hold on. He goes to get his boss. Ok, play the song again. They do. Then they invite them to sing at the Grand Ole Opry and sign a record deal. The funny part was, the girls said “Oh I don’t know if we can be at the Grand Ole Opry that night. We’ll have to ask our Dad.”
But Here Was The Kicker
Those girls never had one music lesson. Not one voice lesson. No piano. No guitar. That gift was in those girls and it was going to come out come hell or high water. Now they have a number of CD’s available (that I highly recommend). I have heard them live at these retreats and I’m here to tell you, they have serious talent.
It’s Time To Say NO
So, I’m not telling you to take your children out of the activities you have them involved in. But I am saying, whether you are homeschooling or not, if you feel stressed out i.e. not enough time as a family; not enough relaxed dinners every week together at the table; not enough energy to mentally and emotionally be available for your husband and your children;
It is time to say NO to a few things.
What is really, really important?
PLEASE don’t think these are reasons to have less children. Children are the ultimate blessing. I’ve said it before. If we work hard, we will turn out the most delightful people we will ever want to be around. It’s the “stuff” that has to go by the wayside. And that “stuff” includes the “running around.” Are you missing more than a couple of dinners per week together with your family all sitting down, facing each other, relaxing, communicating? That connection time daily is crucial. And it is so easy to let it go by the way-side. Not making a decision on how our days are going to be ordered will allow the chaos and ultimately the disintegration of the family to ensue.
Here It Is In A Nutshell
God gave your child gifts. He gave them a purpose in the world. Those gifts will make themselves known regardless of how many T-ball games you go to or don’t go to. So, this is my final word:
Don’t be hard on yourselves. One step at a time.
Breathe through your mouth.
What do you think of this? Am I way off base? Do you have great ideas to inspire us? Let me know!
Great post. Do I think you are way off base-no. I do, however, think that it is possible to have kids involved in activities and still maintain the family God intended. A peaceful, God-centered, non-stress possessed home. (Well, for the most part-I think that there is always a bit of stress in any home-you know…what to make for dinner, is school work done, I really need to vacuum.)
I am thinking in our case, that home schooling plays a big part of that non-stressed picture. We have the blessing to be able to be together as a family everyday, all day. I am sure that there are many people that look at our lives and see it as hectic or stressful. Some of my kiddos are involved in gymnastics-not just tumbling once a week, but full up competitive gymnastics which involves 6-9 hours in the gym each week and out of town meets. If the girls’ coaches had their wish, the girls would train twice this much. But right now, at this time, God has made it clear that our current commitment is enough. This activity does take time and planning. My husband and I pray continually about what God wants for us as a family and how best to accomplish His will for our family. We know that the girl’s are not only using their God given talents, but also learning valuable life skills. We also view this activity and the people we encounter as an opportunity to witness for and about Him.
Being military we have lived all over the world. We are rarely any place for more than 3 years. Our family and life-style are already “different”. Sometimes our lives are hectic because of circumstances not of our choosing. But we have learned that different is not bad. We know that God has a plan for us, as a family, and as individuals.
I think that if you are a family who is following God and bending to His will, then peace will be there-regardless of your level of activity. I truly believe that thereare families who are trying to “do it all”. They are missing out on valuable time to learn, love and laugh as a family. The important part of the equation is praying for God’s will for you and your family, and then following that prompting. It is when we choose our own paths that stress and fragmentation is introduced and played out. Just my 2 cents.
Peace and blessings.
Thank you so much for your thoughts on this. I completely agree with everything you have said. This kind of dialogue can help so many (Including me! :) God Bless you guys!
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