I’ve been in full-fledged triage mode for the last month. Every minute of the day, I’m deciding what is critical, what can wait, and what’s dying so should be ignored. (Figuratively dying, not literally. Unless you count my poor garden which literally died months ago. A moment of silence please.)
My triage system is this:
First the basics: food, shelter, clothing. We’re out of peanut butter and the laundry is about to bury me, but no one’s naked and hungry. Yet.
Second: my main job: homeschooling the kids. Frankly, this is a lot more time consuming this year. This is the first year we’ve had all four kids “officially” schooling. Ironically, guiding the girls to be more independent is taking an unusual amount of time and effort. And of course, educating Bulldozer with all his distractability is exhausting. But we’re more or less hitting the 3 rs and some bible, history, and science. Mostly.
Then I have all the “extras” that go with family life: from therapy to Scouting to youth group to sports and extra classes. These lay quiet until about 24 hours before hand when they start a low pitch hum building to an incessant screech. It’s delightful, really.
The minutia at the end of the list never gets addressed. From home projects, stacks and stacks of books to read, exercising, bathing the dog, and blogging, these things are neither dying nor demanding immediate attention, so they just get put off. Poor little blog, all neglected behind the stinky dog.
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I’m trying to move away from the “putting out fires” mode to prioritizing. Any half-way decent manager know the importance of prioritizing. As a homeschool mom, my to-do list rivals War and Peace for length.
The main difference between triage and prioritizing is realizing the difference between the urgent and the important. It’s managing with the time you have instead of allowing the time to be consumed by demands–be they necessary or not. This requires saying no to both “great opportunities” and “Christian duties.” It’s amazing how hard that one little word is.
Prioritizing requires wisdom, discernment, and self-discipline. And it requires knowing one’s limitations.
I know I give lip service to placing God first in my priorities, but if you examine my triage system, he doesn’t make it, does he? Priorities tell me that he must be first for me and my whole family.
My “theme” for our homeschooling this year is Grace and Joy, mainly because it’s what I desperately need. I need to both receive grace and joy from my Father and extend it to my children. This should be my priority. And I think…I pray… I’m moving in that direction: A home with godly priorities, filled with grace and joy and enough peanut butter in the pantry.