Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Practicing Saying Yes and Saying No

I think one of the greatest challenges that any of us face on a regular basis is determining which things will receive our "yes" and which things will receive our "no."  Particularly in this day and age, it seems that parents are deluded with more.  As I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday, it can be tempting to think that in order to give our kids the best life experience possible, our kids need to be involved in music classes, swimming, soccer, art classes, ice skating, scouts, play groups, and more-- often all at the same time and often at the expense of having any time together as a family or any time to simply be.

It takes intentionally and diligence to remind myself that this isn't the way I want our family to live.  I don't want every minute of my kids' days to be scheduled.  I want time to have fun and play as a family.  I don't want to buy into the pressure of having a "pottery barn house" or give them the impression that everything has to be perfect.

In order to maintain that perspective, I'm often reminded of the story about a teacher who fills a class jar with some big rocks and then continues to add smaller stones, pebbles, sand, and water, all the while asking his students if the jar is full.  At the end of his demonstration, the teacher asks the students what the moral is.  One student ventures a guess, saying, "You can always fit one more thing in."  At this point, the teacher shakes his head and says, "No.  The point is that if you don't fit the big rocks in first; you never will."

Thomas and I refer to this phrase a lot.  It has helped us to identify what our big rocks are and to focus on those things first.  Doing this helps us remember that it's not possible to do everything, at least all at the same time, especially if we want to enjoy our life.  And this is a helpful thing to keep in mind when just about everywhere you turn there is someone or something trying to convince us we need one more thing, one more activity, one more commitment in order to make our lives full. 

When it comes down to it, what we say "yes" and what we say "no" to say a lot about what we value in life.  Sure, there are times when we need to do things that we don't necessarily want to, but for the most part, it is vital that we keep in mind what our big rocks are-- those things that give us life and speak to what we value most-- and that we find ways to say yes to these things first. 
"If everything is important; then nothing is."

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