I was talking with a friend last night who has two daughters in the tween set. They have just begun, in earnest, their fall schedule of lessons, teams, exercise and social time. A glance at the calendar shows not a lot of room during the week for much else.
For a while she was lamenting how busy they all were. A couple nights a week they were eating dinner late. Some days they were heading out after school in a dash towards a class or a group. Time was definitely dished out in small, scheduled doses. And she was feeling a little frazzled.
They had a little family meeting and looked at all they were doing. And as they examined each activity and its merits, they all came to the realization that each thing they were doing was a passion and a completely conscious choice. The lessons, the teams, the social activities and the exercise. There were no half-baked feelings in the mix. And not one activity that any of them wanted to eliminate.
So my friend decided right then and there that what needed to shift was not their schedule, but her attitude. Rather than walk around lamenting how busy they all were, she exulted in the fullness of their life. When one daughter was at a lesson, she seized the moment to take a slow, chatty walk with another. When the other was immersed in practice, she took the chance to connect with the other over homework or a hot chocolate at a cafe. And when they were all sitting down to dinner at 7:30 instead of 6:00, she rejoiced in the fact that the four of them were sitting down to dinner together.
Sometimes slow family living isn’t about cutting back on activities. Or emptying the calendar. It is about taking the pause and asking yourself, “Is this working?” And whatever the answer, it is about finding the connection in it all. For it is that connection that will sustain a family for now when the kids are young and at home, and for years down the road when the children are grown maybe even raising families of their own.