Being a parent might make me a better person. Since my sins, bad habits and fears can get passed on to the next generation, I am striving to make a few changes. All responsible parents do these things. We get off Facebook more, exercise more, eat better, or play fewer video games. We can’t be perfect, but if we change a few bad patterns, we might have new, life-long gifts to offer our kids.
I would like to pass on habits of faith, organization (not doing so well in this area), health, and putting people first. And it’s this last one that God keeps pressing on my heart lately. I am attached to my daily plan.
When the girls were younger, we had more control over our time. We decided where we went and how we spent our time. If we wanted to spend 5 weeks at an orphanage in Honduras, we did, because the girls had no commitments. Now, there are four schedules to juggle and our girls get busier by the year. Finding time to get my things done and the obligations of all the family members means my idea of putting people first isn’t happening.
I can see the future to some extent. Without planning, we will be the family who pursues the interests of our girls to the point of not having time for others. Or we will busily pursue our perfect home and yard situation only to grow old and not have many friends (or have too much joint pain to enjoy the spaces). I don’t want to end up there. I know self-focus is a natural direction while Christ’s call to focus on others can feel like going the opposite direction.
In the last weeks, I babysat for a neighbor who needed a break from her 14-month-old, had lunch with a dear widow in her 80s, drove 4 kids to a soccer practice in Detroit(thereby blessing two other families and learning valuable info about tween culture), and went downstairs to watch TV with my husband.
I know, it doesn’t sound like much. I had to rearrange my carefully guarded homeschool schedule to babysit. I almost skipped lunch because I only get about 1.5 hours, twice a month to run errands alone. And the soccer practice, well that was supposed to be my date night but schedules changed the planned driver couldn’t go. And to make time to watch TV I had to not blog or finish cleaning up the kitchen(ugh…dishes in the morning). Small things, insignificant to you perhaps, but in my world, they were sacrifices.
I failed to recognize that God loves sacrifices, regardless of size. I felt like we needed to return to an impoverished place to serve and love people. Not true. Time spent together is a form of love regardless of location. Small sacrifices can begin big changes in a heart. And that’s my goal: a heart that loves people more than things or schedules, a life lived for others. I don’t want to leave a legacy of schedule guarding. I would rather be known for loving people.
So, how do you fit people time into your schedule?