With the summer break, now is a great time to reevaluate your family’s weekly schedule. Before penciling anything in, here are three questions to ask.
By Lauren Miller
The cadence of our weekly schedules matter. Especially now that we’ve enjoyed a respite from most activities outside our homes, the big question hovers: what will I welcome back onto my calendar?
I often find myself reminiscing over the activities of childhood. Dance class and other calendar items filled my soul and shaped who I became. But in prioritizing those activities, I also chose not to prioritize others.
For instance, singing with my city’s children’s choir was a treasured slice of my weekly schedule. We traveled to festivals, serenaded wedding guests, and sang at professional sporting events.
But then my sophomore year rounded. Optimistic as we were, one week of racing to the car after class to avoid a tardy mark told my parents choir would have to go. It wasn’t worth the stress.
And while I missed this joyful outlet in my week, the Lord filled my time differently that year in future-shaping ways.
Your weekly schedule is in your hands
With the break from activity summer brings, it’s also a great time to reevaluate how your family spends their time the rest of the year.
Some of us will be tempted to revert, word for word, to our old schedule: Husband’s Thursday night racquetball … Wife’s Wednesday coffee with friends … Child 1#’s Tuesday/Thursday soccer practice … You get the picture.
But others would rather leave this activity-free life untouched. (I’m right there with you.) Yet all the old demands are resurfacing, and we have choices to make. What will we say “yes” to?
As you pray through what’s best for your family, here are some questions to consider when looking over your weekly schedule:
1. Does this activity benefit the person involved?
While this addition to the weekly schedule may make you (or your child) jump for joy, it’s good to think through the plusses and minuses of how it might affect them.
For instance, would this activity leave them enough time to rest? Knowing the emotional, mental, and physical toll a lack of rest can take on us, sleep and downtime should be prized and safeguarded.
Also consider whether this family member is mature enough to handle the environment. And I don’t just mean the kids. For example, I’ve heard some baseball horror stories of coaches screaming at parents and vice versa. The items entered into our weekly schedules should give space for character building, not character tearing.
Additionally, would this activity leave time for their other priorities? If school, chores, or even going to church have gone by the wayside, maybe it’s not the greatest fit. RECEIVE MORE ENCOURAGING CONTENT LIKE THIS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX!
2. Is this activity a strain on the family?
It’s helpful to ponder how the weekly schedule might influence the collective family.
Growing up, my sister and I were regularly involved in extracurricular activities. But it wasn’t until high school that they occasionally interfered with family dinner. According to my mom, it worked only because we still carved out family time before turning in.
Every activity was pushed through this grid: does this promote or discourage consistent family time?
Another thing to think about: do the benefits of the activity outweigh the sacrifices made for it? As with my family’s decision to drop my choir involvement, factors as simple as stress are valid enough to cut something.
Maybe your bottom line right now is the price tag. Some things are undoubtedly worth the investment and some aren’t. Is this activity one of them? Or maybe the timing’s off. Would it make a difference to your family if you commit to this activity now vs. later?
Family values make a great standard if you’re unsure of the fit. Don’t have a clear set of family values? This quick assessment can help with that!
3. What are your motivations driving this activity on your weekly schedule?
There’s one specific monster that threatens my weekly schedule. I’m referring to FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out. Maybe you’re acquainted.
I hate the thought of not being in the group photo or for years hearing about that great time I missed. While it’s not bad to desire memories and community, I have to assess whether it’s really my insecurity or pride driving that desire.
Even when it comes to ministry opportunities, I must ask God to search my heart for any impure motivations. Am I jumping at every chance to help for prideful reasons? Am I saying “no” because I’d rather do something else? In both the “yeses” and “noes” we must ask the Lord and obey His call.
And lastly, have you considered how tightly your or your child’s identity is tied up in this weekly activity? Exercising the gifts God gives us is a beautiful thing, but if we begin placing our worth in them instead of Christ, we must consider if continuing is good for our heart.
Your family’s weekly schedule is no small matter. Trust that the Lord will give you wisdom when you decide what to say “yes” to (James 1:5).
Copyright © 2020 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Lauren Miller serves on staff with FamilyLife as a writer in Little Rock, Arkansas, though she’ll always be a California girl. She graduated from Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute where the Lord first planted in her a love for family and marriage ministry. As a single, she loves serving the youth at her church, watching British dramas, and reading a good book in her free time.