High River United Church of High River, Alberta


When Family Life is a GRIND!

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June may be my least favourite month of the year.  It always feels so rushed. Instead of enjoying the warmth in the air and the beauty of spring green and early flowers, I feel instead as if I’m rushing to catch up.  Somehow June 30th looms as a deadline by which so much needs to be done, including all the concluding activities associated with school and sports and extra-curricular lessons.


The first year I taught school, I got to June 1st and realized that I’d covered only half of the math curriculum. I’d been having such a good time exploring math that I’d lost track of time. I’d love to go back and apologize to the group of Gr. 3 kids that I pushed through half a year’s work in 4 weeks, but I think maybe they’ve forgiven me by now. Somehow, even when I’m paying attention to schedules and calendars, that’s how June ends up feeling anyways – a grind – something just to get through rather than to enjoy.  Which is unfortunate because it is one of the best months of the year.


Family life can feel like that – a grind – something just to get through rather than to enjoy.   And isn’t that sad?  Our kids grow up so quickly – which I’m learning all too well as we count down to our first son graduating in just 24 days.  I don’t want to waste any of the precious days with my children just trying to get through the day, rather than savouring the time as a family.


Okay – reality check – there will be some days which are a grind.  There will be days that are overwhelming and seemingly impossible.  What I’m talking about is when every day becomes a grind, every day becomes a push to get through with everyone falling exhausted into bed.  I’ve worked hard through the years to have less of those days which are a grind.  Here is what’s helped our family:


1. We remember that children need their parents more than they need their friends or activities.  Yes, it’s true. Kids need us more than they need anything else. We’re the ones who will go to bat for them, who will be there for them throughout their lives and who fill them up with unconditional love and joy. Friends are icing on the cake after our kids have a satisfying relationship with us. Activities are a bonus, not a necessity, providing variety and fun. They are not essential to a child’s well-being (truly – they will have successful lives without having had every possible opportunity in childhood.)


2. We’ve made some rules about activities in which we as a family and our kids will be involved.  Our rules: no more than 2 activities each, no activities that require (almost) weekly trips out of town, no activities that happen regularly on Sundays and nothing that costs too much.  If we can be involved as a family, that’s a bonus too. That’s been our bottom line and it’s worked for us.


3. Family time! Family time! Family time!  We eat supper together at the table every night.  We have at least one fun family activity together a week – something that is simple and doesn’t require a great deal of preparation and can be spontaneous.  It can be movie night, or a bike ride together, or board games around the table.  It’s all about being together as a family, just to be together.


4. Pray together! I bless the kids (“I bless you for this day. Remember who and whose you are!” –words offered with a hug) as they leave in the morning. We pray together at night, each offering what we’re thankful for and together praying for those for whom we are concerned. We are spiritual beings and spiritual practice keeps life from being a grind.


That’s what’s helped our family keep family life something to be savoured rather than a grind…. though I still need to work on the month of June.  Next year, I’d like to enjoy the warmth of the sun, the joy of the rain, and the new green that emerges.  Why not join me in making your June a time to decide upon changes that will help your life be less of a grind in the coming months and year?

June 3, 2015                            ©Susan Lukey 2015

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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


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