“Baa” said the sheep to her lamb
“Baa” the lamb replied
This was the conversation heard throughout the flock and the sheep followed each other, content but all doing the same.
It’s not a long story is it? But the fact is way too many of us have joined a flock of human sheep. Our conversation is limited to “Baa” and our lives are dictated by the same things, eating the same grass, seeing the same field and being with the same people. We are humans for crying out loud not sheep, so why do we all act like sheep?
What rules your family life?
It’s a tough question and one that few people truly answer. Yes, having a family is awesome but if you spend all your time watching little Tommy play little league, Sarah do her gymnastics and Mary play her violin you may not always have time to be together as a family doing things together as the rules are not your rules but the rules of the club or society your children are in.
Rules for the sports clubs hold parents to ransom, “if Tommy doesn’t come to practice twice a week he won’t be allowed to play in the team” the rules say you sign it in blood. Yes, there is a need for kids to learn discipline but there also has to be a time for kids to be kids and do things with Mom and Dad that the family want to do. It’s crazy, today too many of us follow our soccer, football, little league, gymnastics and musical flocks and we fail to make time for our smaller, vitally important herd better known as the family.
Yes you want to see your child succeed, score the home run, perform in front of dignitaries and give the impression they are making you proud. But have you ever stopped to question what would happen if you stopped doing all this and decided not to follow the flock but become a family and live by your rules?
Your schedules should be made by you. Look at how crazy life is, the soccer mom syndrome is rife and whilst you may think it is leisure time you know full well it’s actually more stressful than your job. Even crazier you or your spouse work harder to ensure you can pay the fees for all the extra murals your children do, not only are you working harder, working longer and building up stress you are also in a loop of actually creating less time to be with those you love to simply pay for something your child might only love because you have told them they do.
201 is already upon us. Can you break the extra mural madness loop and do things as a family and have more time doing less but gaining more as a family?
The answer is yes. You will give every excuse under the sun why you can’t but when you step back and count to 10 you soon realise you are on a treadmill. Your kids may give you the “oh but mom” look but you need to take control and spend time making memories as a family at a time that suits you. Cut down on the sports and music and increase the family time, you don’t have to drop the sports and music but you mustn’t let those extra murals dictate your life or let them make you spend more time at work to pay for them.
Count to 10.
Now look at the madness of what you have put off because of the dictation of others. Look what the flock is doing and listen to the lambs say “Baa” and the mothers and fathers reply “Baa”.
Sit down with your family over a weekend and talk about the madness. Draw up a list of things you would like to do, then draw up a list of reasons why the activities of your life dictate why or if you can’t do these things. Read the list of things you are prevented from doing – a visit to grandma, a weekend in the mountains, movie night at home, going out to a theme park, just being a family playing ball in the park. Imagine the memories created, imagine the reduction in stress and imagine how your family will benefit. You will soon see the value or lack of value in all the activities that control your life and by seeing this you can make a change.
Stress levels will drop. Expenditure may stay the same but the returns will be higher. Free time will increase. Smiles will grow. The grass under your own feet will grow greener as you break from the flock and find your family unit again. Madness becomes a happy feeling.
Don’t worry about your friends in the soccer school, the music hall or the swimming arena. Your real friends will shine through when you slow down, do less and gain more.
Can you make the change? I did!
Guest blogger – British-born, Matt Newnham is a single parent living in Cape Town, South Africa. Matt made the change in his life to spend more time with his son, get involved with things that mattered and to do things he and his son wanted to do and do more of. Having quit his job, today, Matt writes for many publications and speaks to numerous groups of people about finding and following their passion and reaping an abundant reward.