Article by Taylor Walker, LPC, LAMFT, Living Well Counseling.
If you’ve never been to a Minor League Baseball game, you should! They’re full of memories and joy for me, and I’ve found there are lessons for life there if you look hard enough.
Every once in a while, you’ll catch a Major League Baseball player there. Normally, this is because he hasn’t been able to play for an extended period of time. The reasoning is that while the player is normally able to compete at the highest level, he needs time to work back up to that.
This would be a healthy way for our families to approach the beginning of this school year. We shouldn’t expect our families to be firing on all cylinders in August. Our families aren’t used to morning routines, homework, and parent-teacher conferences anymore. This year, give your family a few “Minor League starts” before the school year really ramps up.
You can practice this by playing with these three ideas: rhythm, rest, and recharge.
The best baseball players run through the same routine every day. God has wired us to function well this way. Summers are full of joy and fun, but they normally aren’t full of routine. Help your family re-establish a rhythm by considering these important factors: bedtime, mealtimes, and play time. Consider transitioning to an earlier bedtime slowly over several days, rather than jumping from midnight to 8:30 in one weekend. Consider keeping a regular dinner time together (your kids will have lunch at the same time every day soon enough). And remember that kids need to play; it’s hard for them to sit and pay attention all day after a summer of freedom.
The end of vacation doesn’t mean rest is finished. Remember, God rested even though he didn’t need to do so. Baseball starting pitchers still only play every five days, even if they haven’t thrown in months. Consider guarding the Sabbath each week as your family enters this school year. Consider staying home for Labor Day instead of traveling. Your family is going to be tired.
Our kids are going to come home absolutely drained after that first day of school. Parents are going to be wiped out after the first week back in the normal morning routine. Baseball players get tired, too. They have a smorgasbord of snacks and drinks to refuel their bodies between innings. In the same way, your family needs to be more intentional to do things that will recharge your batteries in August. Avoid things that might bring short-term relief (scrolling through social media, video games, binge watching Netflix), and choose things that are restorative to your soul (time outside, reading a book, family game night, etc.).
Your family will hit their stride in a month or two. For now, kindly help each other ease into the year. You’ve got plenty of time to build up to throwing 100 pitches in a game. It’s ok to start with 20 and work your way up.