Welcome to the tenth installment of my Teach Them Diligently series. If you’re new here and would like to see the other topics, click below.
One of my goals for this year is to continue teaching my children some skills to make them more independent of me. A focus of our learning around here is to take full advantage of all the learning we can in and around the home. In addition to math, science, and languages, I feel it’s my duty to help my children learn to care for their own needs.
Each month of this year, I am focusing on a different skill/chore and taking my time to instruct my children. This isn’t earth-shattering news. These aren’t difficult skills. No doubt generations of mothers before me have been doing this since the dawn of time. I have been slowly showing and teaching my children these things since they were tiny.
First it was to put away toys into baskets and bins and over the years that has evolved into doing their own laundry, loading and emptying the dishwasher, and making their own beds. As they are growing, so, too, should their level of involvement around the house.
Our kids do earn “commissions” for a few set chores each week, but the skills we are working on this year are “just because” skills. They will learn and understand the true importance of rest and sabbath in our lives. While this “skill” isn’t as finite or pin-point-able as some of the others have been, it is equally important. Our recent vacation gave us many opportunities to discuss the benefits and value of a relaxing time away and an intentional setting aside of the responsibilities of life.
There is no pattern or checklist for this idea I wanted to pass along to Thomas, Mae, and Kate. There is no “yes, you’re doing this right,” or “no, you are doing this wrong.” Rest is best measured by your state of mind as well as the state of your heart. Rest is practicing stillness, quiet, and inner calm.
Because of the tempo of life that we keep with homeschooling, jobs, our ministry calling, serving, and the military, our family is very intentional about making time to just rest. Sometimes we are able to do that on a small-scale level by declaring a Lazy Saturday: no errands, no chores, no work…just sleeping in and watching television; just hanging out together. Other times, we find that leaving town for a respite is necessary. We aim to have some type of get-away every quarter of the year.
Our beloved Fall Break Week in Hilton Head is the epitome of rest for our family. There are no plans, no agendas, no pressures, no stresses, no schedules, and no expectations.
God models rest in the Creation Story; He takes an entire day for it, in fact. (Genesis 2:2-3) Throughout the Bible, there is a mandate to keep a Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-10). In the New Testament we see a theme where God longs to trade our slavery to busyness in exchange for His yoke of rest. I wrote about that earlier this year.
The last day of our vacation, our children were visibly sad about having to end the fabulous week. They were already mourning saying goodbye to daily bike rides, unlimited swimming, reading like crazy, extra sweets and treats, special time with family, and the general lackadasical vibe of a week at the beach. We talked about why this feels so good; it’s a stark contrast to real life. On vacation, during a time of intentional rest, we don’t have alarm clocks waking us up. There are no real chores to do. No school work to stay on top of. No real pressures.
We did, however, take a page from my friend Ginger’s book (blog) about trying to savor the restful, fun feelings of a vacation once we are home. She wrote about it here.
What We Love About Vacation: How We Plan to Implement More of It At Home:
Bikes: ride our bikes more in the neighborhood, ride local trails
Swimming: join a pool this summer, visit the indoor pool on post during the winter
Ping Pong: *****
Spending Time with Extended Family: call or FaceTime them when we miss them; write them letters/cards
The Ocean: go to the “local” lake/beach
Relax Mode: no bedtimes for kids on Friday nights/sleep in later on school mornings
Extra Television + X-Box: loosen up rules and let kids play more at home
Luxuries like golf carts, housekeeping, fewer chores: hire housekeeper
No school/work/agenda: limit set school hours and work harder during shorter periods of time
Reading/Trips to the Bookstore: visit local used bookstore, implement a B&N monthly trip
New Restaurants/Hotspots: Be a tourist in our hometown, get out of our comfort zone
Each of those things underlined represent what felt peaceful and relaxing to each of us while we were away on our restful vacation. Here’s to taking a step back when life feels full and demanding. Here’s to listening to our hearts and recognizing when it’s time to take a break. Here’s to vacations, rest, relaxation, and rejuvenating ourselves when necessary.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou,
It is important to me that our children grow up recognizing the need to rest, reset, and recover from the busyness and demands of life. How do you model rest for your children? What are your tips for making sure rest is a priority in your home?