Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Value of "Free" Time

Life can be so fast-paced. Each year I swear goes by quicker than the previous one! Having children and watching them grow up also puts a spotlight on how quickly time goes by.

My family is no different than most other families in the fact that we are busy. Activities and the social lives of growing teens can take up a lot of time. Before you know it, the hours have been sucked away from a day.

I value certain activities. I think sports are great for kids. They get them exercising and focusing more on nutrition. They keep them active and most emphasize or stress working as a team and relying on others. The skills that are gained in sports are very beneficial.

I also value social relationships. Peers are so important to kids. And in the age of texting, I think face-to-face time is really important to remind kids to communicate and verbalize with one another. Relationships are also important for kids to help them form an identity and to bounce things off of each other as they figure out themselves and life.

Church is very important in our family. We desire to be on the mission field and involved in our home church whether that’s giving of our skills, being in bible studies, or in youth group. Our spiritual foundation is the basis for how well we do or don’t deal with the rest of our lives.

I’m also learning just how important I value our free time. Time at home. Time together. Time to putter around, laugh, or even just slowly work through necessary chores together. I love it when we have an afternoon where my oldest daughter can enjoy baking some cookies and my youngest one can write, cut, and create to her heart’s content. 

We can play games together or go shopping for fun together. The key is: together.

When life gets so fast-paced and busy, I tend to feel like I’m in “catch-up” mode all of the time. I can’t be as “in the moment” with my husband or kids as I’d like to be. My presence may be there, but my heart and mind aren’t always rested enough to be. And that’s important to me. It’s important to me for them to know I prioritize them. That I want to listen to what’s going on inside of them and that they aren’t just a “me” but that they are a “we.” We are family. Together.

Dinner time together is great. But free time, when you have hours on end to eat up just the way you’d prefer – those are priceless. Those are the times when you connect emotionally and physically with one another. Those are the times when you can really engage each other and enjoy one another.
Some people may feel more valuable by being busy all of the time. They may be in high demand to head up this or that event; but I feel more whole when I’m in sync with my family. I’m more energized and centered as a person when we are all on the same page. That doesn’t get done as often 
when life is rolling along faster than I’d care to go.

For me, our free time together is at a premium. It can’t be bought or sold away. It’s time that we all need together to just be what we were created to be – a family. Learning. Loving. Laughing. And living.