20. Follow a family schedule that reduces fatigue and time pressure. On the printed page, margin is the space between the print and the edge of the paper. In life, margin is the space between our activity level and our limits. When our activities and responsibilities exceed our time, energy, and financial limits, life suffers. In particular, the relational life that God intended suffers the most.
A constant diet of busyness and entertainment limits the development of self-confidence and imagination in our kids. It also squeezes out the margin we need to help our children interpret life. When they hear something confusing from a teacher, a friend, or whomever, we need to have the time on hand to help them process these thoughts and make sense of what they are learning.
At our house, we found the evening meal was a good time to put some margin back into our lives. We jealously guarded this time to spend together. This included time to talk about the day in ways that built up our relationship with our kids. And we fought the temptation to just squeeze dinner in before rushing off to the next event. In a family setting, we need time to take advantage of the “teachable moments” we have with our kids. And time for just being there.
Having margin in our lives is also a lesson to our kids about living the broader Christian life. Margin equals availability to serve, to love those God brings into our lives. Because God’s commands are generally not schedulable, we must have time availability to carry them out. Think about some of the things God has asked us to do. Go with someone the second mile. Carry one another’s burdens. Give witness to the truth at any opportunity. Practice the “one anothers” that make us a vibrant community of faith. They can only happen when we have time to make a difference.