Earlier today, I was pondering all of the things we've said goodbye to as a family that were truly us saying hello to something different and better for our family. And it made me remember that goodbye is sometimes better, no matter how hard.
Here are some examples of things we've said goodbye to since we were married thirteen years ago:
- Television was shown the door in our first year of marriage, before our first baby was born. We were wasting too much time watching meaningless shows, and we were both sick of it. There was plenty of junk on TV back in 1999, but it pales in comparison to the filth that is allowed on network television today. Jeremy had grown up without a TV and it was still sort of a novelty to him, and I had grown up as a TV junkie, so we were both happy. So we thought. The decision to disconnect the TV was an easy one. We have had a TV for the purpose of watching DVDs ever since we unhooked television service, and we love that. We love watching good movies together. With television, you just never know what you're going to get. Is there going to be a commercial splashed across the screen with a woman in her underwear? Is there going to be a frightening movie trailer? Is a show going to be chock full of language? Saying goodbye to the TV was the beginning of several good choices we made together.
- Another thing we've said no to is a matter of living within our means. We live in a state that offers an abundance of fun, outdoor pursuits. But those fun, outdoor pursuits cost money. Lots of it in our case, as a family of nine. We could choose to go into debt to outfit our family into skis, snowmachines, four-wheelers, hiking and climbing gear, fishing gear, bikes, boats, ice skates, etc... but we choose not to. Not because we don't want to participate in those activities, (because we really do) it's because of principal. We despise debt. In turn, we spend more time at home, which isn't a detriment by any means. Do I sometimes feel we're depriving our children? Yes. Even though I truly know we're not. But living within our means feels so much better.
- We've also said no to the run-around lifestyle. We have lots of kids, that naturally want to be in lots of activities - but there is no way I'd stay sane trying to run several kids to several different activities in a week. We choose differently. We savor our time as a family, and have dinner together each night. If an activity is for more than one kid, it's seriously considered. For instance, it's looking like our three oldest will be able to be in the same swim class that meets once a week this year. Perfect. We don't want to race our days away, and the most important lessons our kids could ever take are learned right here at home.
- As I've said goodbye to facebook, Jeremy has made a choice to stop playing computer games. They were something that he'd spend a lot of time on in spurts. He'd play a game for a few weeks until he finished it, and then not at all for a few weeks. But me being on facebook, and him spending time on computer games was NOT the example we wanted to be setting for our children. And there was an unspoken (and sometimes spoken) annoyance at each other for these habits. They had to go. We didn't talk about it together and decide we were both going to give something up. It was a separate decision we both made that happened to coincide this last week. And we couldn't be happier. I'm so proud of him, and he's so proud of me. God has been changing our hearts even more so toward our children, and we don't want to miss out.
That's just a smattering of choices we've made that we feel honor God, and draw us closer as a family. And I'm so excited to get on with life in the slow lane.