I would say it was just a coincidence, but that would be lying. Definition of "coincidence" on http://www.dictionary.com/: "a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance". Guess what "coincidence" leaves out of the equasion - GOD.
For the past few days, my oldest daughter has been crying at various points throughout the day. Finally, this morning, she put a voice to her emotions. She was feeling overwhelmed. Okay, let's back up a minute.
At the end of last school year, I was looking for a way to have the kids participate in some sort of class structure to get the electives I may not necessarily be able to teach them as well as someone passionate about their respective class: i.e. art, drama, P.E. etc. I am not the most artsy/craftsy person, definately not a drama person, and, though I love to run and lift weights, not a team sports kind of gal. Enter Calvary Baptist Academy. They have what is called a "Friday School", where kids of all ages can participate in those exact classes I was looking for, namely art, drama, P.E., and choir. You show up on Friday, pay the tuition, and your children get to participate in all the extras you are not good at. Yay for Friday School! We signed up.
One of the perks of CBCA (Calvary Baptist Christian Academy) is they have sports teams the junior and senior high school students can participate in that compete against other small Christian schools in our area. Jayde, my oldest, has inherited her father's natural team sport athletic ability, which has before been seen mostly in our city's recreational soccer league. She decided, upon hearing about CBCA's sports teams, that she wanted to try volleyball. Upon going to practice the first couple weeks, she found she has a natural ability for it, made friends, and had fun. Yay, yay, and yay.
Those same two weeks were our first two weeks of school for the 2011-2012 school year. Seventh grade, mind you, is a bit more difficult than sixth. She is taking classes from teachers other than mom, being strapped with a much harder and longer work load, and this is all weighing on the girl who already has trouble focusing. She's also a perfectionist. Couple the two together and you have the makings for a very long school day, all self-inflicted.
This said oldest daughter has been distraught. Finally, this morning, she broke. She's feeling overwhelmed with the fact that she can't get her schoolwork finished, practicing for 3-3 1/2 hours a day for volleyball, her schedule has been interrupted, no more guitar and karate until January, because she can't fit them in, etc., etc., etc. It wasn't pretty. Dad and Mom decided to do some praying and thinking over the next few hours and come back together and discuss the situation.
We discussed it. What we came up with is this: 1)Academics this year are more important than sports, 2)We, frankly, don't want to be around a moody, depressed, overwhelmed 12 year old for the next 3 months, 3)We have the power to say she can or cannot participate in something based on how it affects our family dynamic as well as her mental capacity, 4)Ditto on the family dynamic point! What is the eternal value of driving yourself crazy for at least 3 months doing a sport you are not crazy about? There is NONE. If she felt God was calling her to do it or it might be something she wanted to do for a living, that would be different. But it was neither. Soooooooo........ we called her in said we are scratching it! No more. Done. Finished. She is already behind in her workload and it's only been two weeks. No volleyball games have been played yet, and she will be required to call her coach and let her know what's going on. But we are pulling her, whether she likes it or not.
So I was still kind of sad that we made her break her commitment to the team. Not a good lesson to teach, and we discussed that with her. Then, I opened my mail. God is funny sometimes. Okay, lots of times.
In my big box was Jayde's science textbook. I forgot that I ordered a book I was interested in reading at the same time. While I cooked dinner tonight, I began the book (in between stirring, etc.) It's called Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical, by Joanne Kraft. Joanne and her husband decided that their family was too busy, and for a whole year, participated in no outside activities other than Sunday morning church and school. Wow. What confirmation the Lord sent! Here are some excerpts:
"A strong family usually has well-worn cushions at the kitchen table." -Bruce Bickel
She met a mother of two small children who had terminal cancer. This mom said, "Don't pin your hopes on living." "That mother understood how precious every moment is, I thought. I shared with my girlfriend how I wanted to live like that - with purpose. I wanted to make my time count. Life is too short to be wasting even a moment of it."
"Whatever you love most, be it sports, pleasure, business, or God, that is your god." - Billy Graham.
One of her prayers: "Dear Lord, you created me with the ability to raise my children. Fill me with the strength to be the parent they need and not just the one they want. Remind me when things don't always go the way they had hoped that sometimes those are the ways you had hoped. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so I can walk each day in your strength, especially days I'm not voted the most popular by my kids. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."
"Selfishness is Genetic: I understand this trait was passed down from the very first two people God created. When we want what we want and put self first, a selfish-seed is planted. If this seed is not immediately killed with spiritual weedkiller - God's Word - a mighty oak of selfishness can take up residency in the heart."
These are just a very few quotes from the book. The fact of the matter is that I believe God sent me this book to confirm the decision Alan and I made today for our family. To let go of some of the "busyness" that plagues us and focus on God and family first. Whether others agree or not. Period.