The last thing I want to share with you in this short series is probably the most profound thing I've learned in our homeschooling efforts in the past year and it dovetails nicely into my previous two points. After getting the big picture and then getting a close-up of the action, I think there are many dads out there who need to learn how to say no on behalf of their families and their wives. Rather than figure out how much we can fill into our schedules, it might be wise for us to determine what we need to say no to and eliminate from our schedules.
Recently my wife asked me to go away for a weekend of homeschool planning. The truth is, she wanted to go away with me for the weekend while she accomplished a bunch of planning and at most probably bounced a few ideas off of me (I don't want to take any more credit for our school plan than I deserve). Anyhow, she painted a nice picture of a weekend away without kids (score!), great food (double score!) and nearly free accommodations (triple score!). For the first time in a lot of years, I quickly responded with a negative response and told her that we should not go away together.
What? My wife asks to get away for a night alone. This already busy homeschool mom asks for a weekend planning retreat with me and I quickly respond with no. What's going on here? Am I crazy? Was I just being stingy or mean? Not at all. I was actually thinking of her the whole time. I knew her schedule, I knew how her week was going, and even more I knew how our kids had been behaving all week. The benefit of going away that weekend was not really worth the cost of dealing with kids and behavior issues created by having their parents gone again.
I love it when Fletch says, "No, you're not making dinner tonight!"
What do you need to say no to in your family? A really great curriculum? A sports team? A youth event at church? A new purchase? Sometimes you need to say no.
Like I said, this brief series came from recalling several interactions with homeschool families that communicate how they have it all figured out, as well as with others who are just going through the motions scholastically and practically. I think I've spent time in both places and I think looking at the big picture, really getting to know what's happening with my wife/kids, and learning to intervene and say no are all habits I need to continue to work on. I hope my words encourage you to do the same.