In scholé we often talk about what to do. We speak of adding read alouds to the day or a morning group time to gather as a family. There are discussions to be had, good books to read, and fantastic hikes to take. There’s also a new art to learn.
We need to learn the art of saying no.
The Art of Saying No
It seems that life is getting busier. There’s more and more to do each and everyday. We have art to teach and the kids need music lessons. If one math program is good, two math programs are better.
For high school literature we need to touch on all the major works of ancient times and medieval times and the Renaissance. We can’t leave a stone unturned.
Children must memorize as many poems as possible, learn all the important dates, memorize all the elements. They need to know it all!
Let’s stop and think for a second. Humanity and civilization has been around for thousands of years. The great conversation started eons ago. Do we honestly expect that we’re able to teach children everything in the short 18 years we have them?
Of course not. Which is why we need the best!
But the search for the best keeps us saying Yes.
We say yes to more curricula. We say yes to more activities. We say yes to more memorization. We say yes to more books, more experiments, and more chaos in our lives.
When do we have time to stop and smell the roses?
If we’re rushing children to all the best activities and play dates, when do we have time to bake cookies and hold long discussions about the moral decisions Harry Potter faces? When do we have time to listen to our teenage daughter ask heartbreaking questions about relationships and the unfairness of life?
To get the best out of life, we have to learn the art of saying no.
We have to say no to more curricula. No to more activities. No to more stuff.
We have to say no to the endless search for the best.
The best math curriculum doesn’t exist. There are many very good math curricula which will do an excellent job educating our children. Find one, put on the blinders, and teach.
Say no to checking out every new curriculum on the market. Say yes to learning one, learning it well, and teaching your children.
Learn the art of saying no. No to the new activities being offered to children. No to activities that don’t enrich the family.
Say no to the craziness.
Instead, build margin into your life. Create space for relationships, time to grow, time to think, time to discuss.
The art of saying no is actually the art of saying yes. By saying no to the mediocre, no to the search, we have time to say yes to the best life has to offer.
We can say yes to activities that enrich the family. We can say yes to activities that allow our children to blossom.
We say yes to deeper relationships, yes to wonder, yes to joy, and yes to love. After all isn’t it better to have leisurely read and loved a few great books, than to have raced through many yet retain nothing?
Learn the art of saying no, so you can have the best life has to offer.