Isn’t spontaneity appealing? Think about movies and television shows. Often times the main character of the story is often someone who is fun and spontaneous and can be ready to do something at the drop of a hat. That’s appealing to most of us, right?!
How many of us as parents think, “there is NO room for being spontaneous in MY family!” If you think about how busy we can be, going from work to kids’ after school activities, sports practices and birthday parties, you may be flat out laughing about the idea of being spontaneous in family life. I sometimes get caught up in this stress.
That message we tell ourselves, “not now…maybe one day when my kids are grown, then I can be spontaneous again.” That message is a lie! In fact, it’s only discipline that allows us to be spontaneous. Let’s think about that… the opposite of spontaneity-discipline-is the very thing that frees us up to have MORE time. Say what?!
I often talk about the benefits of having a short family huddle every Sunday evening with our kids. During that huddle we display our calendar for all the family to see and then go day by day through the activities we have scheduled for the next 7 days. Our kids like to engage with us and ask questions about their activities and weigh in on what time we may need to leave to get there and share what equipment they may need to pack to be prepared. It’s incredibly beneficial!
But when we commit to have these huddles and decide to skip a week, the feel and the mood of the entire family shifts. We can all feel the anxiety and agitation about not really knowing what’s going on from day to day. So why is that? Because when we do the things we commit to do when we say we are going to do them, it frees up our mind to think about other things!
Isn’t spontaneity about having the mental capacity to think about something different than the daily grind? How can we have that mental capacity when we are burdened by thoughts like these: “What time do we need to be there? When am I going to work out since I didn’t do my workout this morning, like usual? What have I forgotten? It feels like I’m missing something.” That’s when the idea of spontaneity hits the graveyard. It’s buried under the stress trying to dig itself out.
Think for a minute about a person in your life who you admire for their ability to be spontaneous and just say yes to a random opportunity to do something. I’m not talking about that person who literally says yes to anything that comes across their radar. That’s a person who has a problem with impulse control. The person who constantly says yes to the shiny object often is known as the person who over-promises and under-delivers. I’m talking about a person who is disciplined in their daily life and because of that discipline has the freedom to say yes to things they enjoy and that matter.
How can we become a disciplined and spontaneous person? It’s simple. Commit to the things that matter. Follow through with the commitment when you said you were going to do it. Say NO to that voice that tempts you to “do it later.” Then step back and watch how your family life transforms. Notice how you are able to think of fun, spontaneous activities you never imagined were possible in “busy family life.”
Orderliness also has something to do with it. When we order our priorities in the right way, and we order the priority of people before things, we can often hit the mark to complete things when we say we plan to complete them. A simple tip to create order to your day is make a TO-DO list of 10 things for the next day, when you are nearing bed. Once you have made the list, circle the two things on the list that seem the hardest. Once you wake up, get the kids off to school, and are ready to tackle your day, tackle the two action items you circled first! Then watch the rest of the items get marked off even quicker. The reason this works is because when we tackle tough stuff it builds confidence. Once we’ve tackled our entire list, and someone calls and invites you to coffee, you are free to go and spend time in relationship instead of having to say no.
For some help getting your kids to be oriented to the activities of the week and follow through with their commitments, check out our free printable! It’ll make a huge difference in getting your kids engaged in the week and will help make spontaneity a regular thing in your family!