In our electronic world it seems we have two choices on how to live out our days. On the one hand, we schedule everything we do well in advance so open slots of time on the weekly, monthly and yearly calendars are simply that—slots to fill with something or they will be wasted. We often conveniently prepay for future events, therefore financially locking them into our lives as well. Not to mention the electronic ding that tells us again and again what is supposed to be happening right now.
What percentage of your next week is booked? Your next month? Your next year even?
On the other hand—and this seems especially true of teenagers and young adults—nothing is set in stone. There is no appointment, scheduled event or choice on life’s path that can’t be altered up until the last minute. Why pin yourself down when you don’t know exactly what chance might come up on your current social media app?
These two extremes can come into conflict when various members of your family make different choices. Add children’s activities to the mix, and the constantly revolving opportunities can feel like burdens. (Especially when all you really want is to have some time alone with these beloved beings you don’t actually see anymore.) Where does the whirlwind stop?
Somewhere in between the overscheduled life and the never-committed existence seems the proper place to reside. Rejoice in the opportunities, take advantage of all the options, and yet find the necessary relief valves that put a stop to the weeks that seem to never let up. You haven’t failed yourself or your children if you learn to cancel events when nobody actually wants to participate with a joyful heart.
- Children’s enthusiasm for activities waxes and wanes more quickly than the moon, so focusing on seasonal schedules is often more realistic than yearlong commitments.
- Don’t financially commit to activities unless you really want to make them happen. Many things that used to say “pay on the day of the event” now ask you to register online and pay in advance. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean you have to sign up right at that moment. And if it turns out you missed the boat, relax—there will be another one.
- Give children a few, but not too many, choices for each season. Make them pick what they want to do and then help them follow up on their commitments, even if they would rather be doing something else.