Twelve-year-old Annie gets straight A’s– at a cost. She hurries away from the table after dinner, misses out on time with friends, and finishes each week exhausted. Her parents love her work ethic and curiosity, but they think a different balance would make her happier in the long run.
What is Balance?
Balance recognizes that many good things in life are good only in moderation. There really can be too much of something wonderful. In fact, many vices are simply virtues taken to excess. When an interest, affection, or endeavor becomes utterly consuming, it doesn’t allow room for other kinds of goodness.
Implicit in the concept of balance is the notion that two very different things are true at once, and both must be heeded. Simply illustrated, we need to work, and we need to play. We need to give out, and we need to replenish. We need to go wild, and we need to be calm. Each of us is prone to fall out of balance in our own way. How do you model balance for your children?
Five Quotes to contemplate, discuss and share.
For everything there is a season.….a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; … a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
–Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-5
Bringing it home to your kids
1. Introduce your child to the classical concept of “The Golden Mean”, the balance point between two extremes.
2. Tell your child, in words appropriate to their age, about something you did this week in the service of life balance.
3. Bake a favorite recipe together, and talk about the parallel between combining the right amounts of ingredients in baking and in life.
4. Involve your child in deciding how a weekend will get balanced. What are the competing priorities? Chores? Homework? Playfulness? Community?
5. Find a calm opportunity to talk with your child about media time — what they get out of it, what “other kinds of good” are on hold during media time, how hard it can be to set limits, what a goodbalance might be based on your family values. Then you be the parent and hold them to it.