by Pastor Ben Holden
The start of a new school year is upon us.
We tend to think of January 1 being the beginning of a new year, but if you are a parent like me, the most change comes into our lives at the start of a new school year. Kids move to new grades with new classrooms and new teachers. Churches start their new year of programming and often make any major changes during this time. New sports seasons start and a whole new schedule is formed.
Our culture leads us to think about new commitments, new disciplines, and new resolutions at the start of the calendar year. The reality is January falls right in the middle of a schedule we are in the midst of. Most of our changes and newness comes at the beginning of the school year. I would suggest that now is the time to think through the next season of life. Now is the time to make any adjustments to set you and your family up for success over the next 9-12 months.
So do we sit down and create a list of new school-year resolutions? I don’t think that is the answer. Let’s be honest. How often do we keep our New Year’s resolutions that we make? Most of them are given up on within the first month. I don’t necessarily have a problem with resolutions, but I think it is smarter to take an honest assessment of what lies ahead, what your goals are, and then create rhythms that will help see things through. So what are some things to consider when creating these rhythms?
Determine what is most important.Only you can make this decision for yourself and your family. However, let me strongly encourage you to place your spiritual priorities at the top of your list. Engaging in the church, serving others, and practicing disciplines to help you grow spiritually will not enter your schedule accidentally. There are so many things that are vying for your time and attention that these things often get placed on the back burner. Place them as the top priorities and then let other things fill in around them rather than the other way around.
Create a schedule and rhythm that is not overwhelming.We tend to bite off more than we can chew. We want to excel at everything we do and we want to do a whole lot of things! If you put too many things on your plate we end up abandoning our priorities and rhythms and our lives begin operating like the wild west. Keep it simple, don’t take on too many different things in your life and the overall schedule of your family, and work toward those things. You don’t have to do everything that might be good in your life. Your kids don’t need to be involved in everything that is good. Stick with your priorities and create a rhythm that is doable.
Allow yourself to be kept accountable.Things don’t always go the way we plan them. Kids get sick, work gets extra busy and demanding, and we hit lulls in our excitement of accomplishing our goals. As a family, clearly define your goals and the rhythm you will follow to accomplish those goals at the beginning of the year, and then together hold each other accountable to them. Hiccups will happen, but together you can make adjustments and get back on track if you are all committed to the same things.
I can’t stress enough the importance of placing your spiritual goals at the top of your list of priorities. Now is the time to get the kids involved in areas that will help them to grow spiritual and live a life of faith. If you don’t make this the foundation, it will get drowned out. The stakes are too high.
So at the start of this new school year, take some time, have fun, set priorities and goals, and develop a healthy rhythm for your family. Our hope at Berean is that we can help you reach some of these goals in a way that fits your family rhythms.