Living in the Margin, Part 2
By Jeannette Webb
I’m going to get personal for a minute. Are you feeling rested? Do your days run at a reasonable pace? When was the last occasion you had enough of a time cushion that the long line in the grocery store didn’t throw your schedule off? Do you remember getting a last minute request from your child or a friend for something needed and having enough leeway in the day that your feathers were not ruffled at the slip up?
You need to know that marginless living is no respecter of social class or homeschool philosophy. It can happen in the wealthy burbs where highly educated and sophisticated homeschool parents drag their kids from one excellent expensive learning opportunity to another. In can also happen in the wilds where the family never leaves the farm but milks goats, grinds their own flour, makes their own soap, keeps a spotless house, and cares for aging relatives.
The common denominator is the lack of cushion. With nothing extra in reserve, life’s little bumps become insurmountable mountains. Without the extra breathing room, we have no time to evaluate our lives, make informed choices, or live intentionally. In fact, when we move too fast, it often feels like we have no choice at all.
There are many components to living with margin (I would highly encourage you to read the book), but we are going to focus on only one area – Time, both because it is the most pervasive and because it will eventually affect your student’s college application in a huge way. I’d like to share a few tips on how we restored our margin of time.
Eliminate the Good to Make Room for the Excellent
Radical pruning of activities should be a yearly project at least. At best you should prune seasonally. Look closely and choose to keep only those activities in life that are truly excellent. In this case, an activity that is just good just isn’t good enough!
Are there activities in your life that have outgrown their usefulness?
- Are there little commitments that you agreed to because they wouldn’t take much time?
- Are there things in your children’s schedule just because everyone else is doing them?
- Are there things in your week that you dread?
Purge everything that is not absolutely necessary. You’ll be glad you did.
Learn to Say No
Yes, I know you know that. But you aren’t doing it. Stand in front of the mirror and practice a few times. Just because a church or homeschool committee needs members doesn’t mean it is God’s best for you (or that He thought there should be a committee in the first place). We’ll continue this discussion with the next post!