This Week’s Small Change: Finding Those Sabbath MomentsPost written by simplicity on 14 March 2011
I had the honor of spending this past Saturday morning with an enthusiastic group of parents to discuss how we can redesign our lives so that downtime and connection are built into our daily and weekly schedules. It isn’t unusual for a family with young children to share a daily schedule that is tightly packed with tasks, chores, activities, and appointments. Evenings and weekends have become times for extra-curricular activities, birthday parties, craft fairs, school events, and holiday activities.
The schedule will remain full and active as much as you allow it. As parents in these modern times you hold the key to creating a slower pace. When your kindergartener receives 3 birthday invitations for the same Saturday you aren’t obligated to attend all of them!
Sabbath times and moments are times that the schedule comes to a halt and there’s an opportunity for connection through a daily or weekly ritual that is calming and enjoyable; it’s a protected time that is honored by everyone. Religious families understand these time as they are imposed by their faith’s tenets – a day of rest, an evening of prayer, for example.
Sabbath rituals, however, don’t have to be religious. A sabbath ritual in our home is every Saturday morning the children have waffles and a visit to the library. They look forward to this special time in the week that is kept protected and sacred. I strive to protect our evenings and weekends as much as I can to strive to keep a consistent bedtime.
This past Sunday morning the children came into our bed and read stories and played in the “caves” of our sheets while I got extra time to rest and relax. The children spent the afternoon gardening with their dad. Were there other plans, activities, things to do this past Sunday? Absolutely. At times, it feels that it takes an incredible effort to hold back the schedule. Bolstering the more active days on either side with calm days has been incredibly helpful to us.
This week, take a peek at the schedule. Is it too much? Reflect on your core values and what is gained by the activities and “doing” that you’ve built in. Is there something that you can let go of and replace with downtime at home, time for the kids to explore, to be bored, to have “unscheduled” time together?
This challenge is meant to inspire you toward making one small tweak – it may occur this week or in the weeks to come. We encourage you to think more about “sabbath moments” for your family. If you haven’t read Simplicity Parenting, you’ll want to read more in Chapter 5. Happy un-scheduling!