There is a lot of pressure on young families (very likely on those in other seasons of life as well – I can only speak to what I know) to keep our children as busy as possible. We are presented with a myriad of activities for our kids and are given the impression that we deprive our children if we choose to opt out.
Your kids won’t be well-rounded! They will fall behind their friends! They won’t learn as much, be as good, become as successful!
Whether the reference is to sports, the arts, languages or STEM, the implication is that if we love our children, we will give them as much chance for success in their later life as we possibly can.
If God is in all things and in Him all things hold together, if we are to view all pieces of our lives through a Christian lens, if there is no separation between sacred and secular, then even the activities we choose for our children should be considered carefully in light of our faith.
I have heard much lamenting from Christians recently about the busyness of our families, about how we should spend time together in our homes building character into our children rather than ferrying them around from activity to activity.
The argument is that it is much more important for our kids to know and love Jesus than to become successful in the eyes of our culture.
I don’t disagree at all with the impetus behind the lament. I fully believe that to know and love Jesus is the most important thing we can teach our children.
I also believe that it is important to teach our children to show Jesus to the people in their circle of influence.
And there is my dilemma. If the people who see us view us as failures, can they be receptive to what we have to say about Christ?
If God created arts, if philosophy and math are ways of looking at the world He created, shouldn’t we be helping our children to become well versed in such things?
For people who do not know God to respect what we have to say about God, they must also respect us. Yes, much of that will occur when they see how well we love them and each other. But some of that also comes with how successful we are in whatever tasks we set ourselves to accomplish.
So what do we do? What is most important?
Do we keep our families at home, focusing completely on helping them to love God and each other?
Do we sign our kids up for multiple activities, helping them to become successful and thus securing a foundation for their future witness to those around them?
Perhaps the answer lies in a balance between the two. This is often the case in our lives in Christ. We are not often asked to do solely one to the exclusion of the other; maybe that is true here as well.
If we are deliberate about carving out time to spend together as a family, being sure to be intentional in how we teach our children in that time, and also are intentionally wise in choosing a few activities for our children, being sure to consider the God-given passions of each child, then we should be able to fulfill both tasks set before us.
We should be able to help our children both to love God and those around them, and to gain the respect of their future friends and colleagues, laying the foundation of their ability to show Jesus to those around them.
Will you take a turn and share with me? What ideas do you have for not staying too busy as a family and yet at the same time helping your children to succeed?