Whoa, former procrastinators! Maximizing activities doesn’t mean taking on as many as we possibly can. It means getting the most benefit possible from the activities we do take on.
That way, activities can assist us in moving our ships toward the ports we want to reach.
We may outwardly rush from school or office to dentist to ball field to committee meeting. But inside, we may just drift along with no purpose or benefit. (“Priorities and Activities” August 17, 2017) We lose much good we could gain from activities. Let’s be deliberate – now, before we are swept away.
First, determine priorities for ourselves and our younger children and together with teens. We set up routines based on those. Consider which activities would serve to develop our priorities or can be arenas in which we demonstrate them. Baseball or debate could help develop traits such as respect, loyalty, or perseverance. Regular lawn mowing or babysitting may afford opportunity to use special abilities to earn money or to serve others.
Specifically define what knowledge or skills we want to develop through an activity. Improve vocal range or raise the high jump bar x amount. Specify character traits we’d like to develop. Not just playing the game, but playing wholeheartedly or being cheerful win or lose. Not just seeking points over another robotics team, but supporting the ideas of others.
Leave margin so we take on what is reasonable. When we rush from one activity to another, it’s hard to focus on improving my swing, showing gratitude, or having fun. In the margin, we can think.
Talk about our focus throughout the season to increase benefit from participation. Encouraging each other in our efforts with skill, knowledge, character development, or service is important. Otherwise, participation can become something we plow through in misery or enjoy at the cost of others.
One idea is to select priority character traits family members (including mom and dad) will focus on. Each works on those traits in whatever activity he participates. Or, individualize trait selections according to personal need. Friends can do these too. Discussion adds depth to our growth.
Enjoy! Fun counts! Fun is a valid reason to play basketball or learn chess. Enjoyment for its own sake is worthwhile as we do something we delight in whether we master it or not. A new soccer player ran off the field up to her coach in the middle of a game. Grinning, she exclaimed, “Coach, this is so much FUN!”
There’s tension between priorities and activities. We can lessen tension and maximize activities if we focus on certain priorities while participating. The important thing is to seek God and devote deliberate attention and follow through to what we do. Let’s not allow ourselves to be swept into channels of activity other than those God intends for us to sail in. Let’s reach port.
I wish I’d learned these things sooner. Please share what you’ve learned!
What considerations help you determine what activities to participate in?