That Delicate Sense of Balance

You would be amazed at what I hear day after day on the phone. One mom is caring for a dying parent. Another is traveling year round for a child preparing for the Olympics. One has a serious illness and a newborn baby. Joys and tragedies all jumbled up with trying to educate all of your children. How do you make it happen?

The director of the Bible school I attended somewhere back in the late seventies had a key word. He must have used it every day in some form or another. It was balance. To lead a balanced life was what he recommended. Don’t be so spiritual as to be no earthly good. Keep the important things important. Don’t get caught up in unimportant things. And I think that’s how you can get through homeschooling, no matter what life throws at you.

Make time for yourself. Enough time to straighten out your own head. Let your head keep your heart in check. You may feel like a failure, but you aren’t. Tomorrow may—no, will—be different. I think 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” is a key to maintaining balance. Tell yourself the truth. Throw out the lies. Even if you are a failure today, you probably won’t be tomorrow. Once you’ve corralled your thought life you can move on to balancing your days.

Elisabeth Elliot loved the saying, “Do the next thing.” If you are lost in despair, get up and do the dishes. Then do the next thing. Keep doing the next thing, maybe math, and you’ll find you’ve accomplished a lot. Isn’t there a law of physics that says it’s harder to stop a moving train. Inertia, isn’t it? Well, keep your train moving.

We have a Bible study called “I Dare You” which is based on a book written by William Danforth, the founder of the Purina company. He suggested a balanced life of mental, physical, social, and spiritual areas. Examine these four areas, and think of simple goals you can meet, and keep meeting them. Take a walk. Pray while you take a walk. Memorize a poem while you walk, and stop at a neighbor’s with an extra batch of cookies the kids have made for supper tonight. (And what are the odds that the kids will clean up after making cookies?) You’ve managed to get something balanced from all four areas. Nothing complex. All doable.

Balance the spiritual and the physical aspects of life. You’ll probably spend four hours a day—or more—planning, fixing, eating, and cleaning up after meals. Just as you want to prepare balanced meals, work at balancing your relationships and the time devoted to them. God, spouse, children, and friends all require attention. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Don’t spend all day cleaning or all day visiting. Balance.

Keep organized, so that you can forget all that stuff. If everything has a place, you’ll never have to look for your keys again. Maybe it’s not your nature, but you can make huge strides. Again, balance the owning with the keeping. It’s okay to get rid of a lot of things. Balance the keeping with the letting go.

Enjoy your school year. Enjoy your life. Balance is important—don’t forget it.

—April Purtell
President, Hewitt Homeschooling Resources

 

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