Well, there is a lot of detail that goes with that answer. One of the statements you hear in our home that Matt and I have adopted as a motto is, “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork.” This phrase is not original to us, but it has certainly served us as a reminder that to raise the family we want, there is no “His and hers”; “Mine and yours.” There is only “Ours.”
At the Hagee house, everyone pitches in! The good news is that our children are getting old enough to pitch in too! Even Madison, our 5-year-old, likes to be a part of helping around the house. It’s not a chore; it’s a blessing. It gives us as a family the opportunity to consider the wonderful things the Lord has provided and count our blessings. I talk to parents that wonder how to get the kids involved around the house, and the simple answer is, “who said they had a choice?” Matt and I both grew up in a “yes sir, no sir,” “yes ma’am, no ma’am” family and we are raising our children the same way, in an environment of respect. Not just for their parents and authority, but one another, and respect for the material things for which they are responsible.
None of this happens by accident. If it’s going to happen, it has to happen on PURPOSE. So from the day-to-day schedule and all things related, my goal is to plan with purpose. Our time (like yours) is precious, so we choose to spend it as a family purposefully. We don’t want to miss those activities that are meaningful to us, but, at the same time, we aren’t wasting precious hours at an event that isn’t edifying to our family or the Lord. I am fiercely protective of our schedule because my children are only going to be young once...and they are little sponges, soaking up everything that they see and hear.
Before I say “yes” and add something to our calendar, I ask...”Is this important?” Is this block of time that I’m investing going to be the kind of thing that fills my life with the satisfaction of seeing my purpose as a wife, mother, and woman of God fulfilled? Or, am I simply adding something to my “to do” list, leaving me tired and wondering where the time went?
Our days are numbered. Psalm 90:12 reminds us to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” It’s this heart of wisdom I strive for every day, and I want to encourage you to do the same.
When planning your family’s calendar (or your calendar), ask yourself these questions:
Is what I am about to do something that I should be doing? Remember, just because you can do it, doesn’t always mean that you should do it!
Is what I am about to do, going to create a long- term commitment? Often, we forget to see the end from the beginning and find ourselves suddenly overcommitted with some tough choices to make about what we can and cannot finish or do well.
Will this matter to the people that mean the most to me in the future?
If I can’t answer “yes” to these questions, then what I should probably do is say “NO!”
Matt and I make it a point to sit down to family dinner together on purpose. Dinnertime is a sacred time. It’s when we connect with each other and not the outside world. We aren’t looking at iPads or iPhones, listening to the TV in the background...we are going around the table and engaging our children in conversation. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” If you have been a parent for five minutes, you know that your actions speak far more loudly than your words.
Now, realistically we cannot sit down to a family dinner every night due to our activities, but we purposefully schedule at least one or two nights each week for dinner at home with just our family and try to have a meal with extended family on Sunday. Phones are put away, and there are no interruptions. We thank God for His provision and enjoy the opportunity to share with our kids how important they are to us and how excited we are for the things God has planned for their future. When you begin to plant seeds of hope, goodness, blessing, and confidence in your children, you will see the rewards for years to come.
When dinner is over, our youngest daughter, Madison (5) will get the family Bible, and Matt will read various Scriptures to the kids, showing them how to apply the devotion to their lives. The great thing about God’s living Word is that it is a gift for all ages. And, if you remember, Jesus loved teaching the children too (Matthew 19:14).
Don’t let your “home” ministry stop at the dinner table. Remember, no matter how old your children are, you are their primary example. God has entrusted you with them for just a few years, and then they are off on their own. I am always in awe of how quickly the years fly by, so I try to make the most of the time I have with my kids.
Whatever your family is planning for the spring, remember that you are worth planning your calendar with purpose!
Make everyday matter. Don’t allow people to rob you of your time and your joy...for each day is a precious gift!