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Posts Tagged ‘efficiency’

Fabulous Family Friday–The Enemies of Relationships

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Maybe this should be subtitled:  Lessons I learned in the blueberry patch!


This past week I was pondering the enemies of relationships.


The one that really stood out is Efficiency.


Wait a minute!  Isn’t efficiency a good thing?  Get things done in a timely and efficient manner so we can spend more time with our children?


Yes….and no.


Like so many things in life, we can take it to an excess and still miss the most important things in life.


After all, Martha was no doubt an efficient homemaker and cook!  But she still missed “the one thing needful”.


The Pharisees were very efficient in their studies of the Scriptures, but they missed Jesus.


And sometimes, we mamas can be so focused on getting things done, that we miss true relational opportunities.


For example, you might be a busy mama of younger children and not be able to go to the blueberry patch to pick blueberries, but you can buy them already picked at a good price with some other moms.  That’s great!


But sometimes, it’s just easier and we never get around to picking blueberries with our children…and making memories.


It would be faster and cheaper sometimes to buy through a group, go pick up my blueberries, and then we could bag them together.  And there is nothing wrong with that.


But if we are always looking for the “easiest and cheapest” way to get things done, we may fall into a trap of missed opportunities to connect with the hearts of our children.


We have picked blueberries at the same patch for 12 years.   I’ve worn babies in carriers or had my older girls (12 and 10 at the time) push them around in strollers, and they remember watching the “little girls” (Anna, Bekah and Charissa) play in these old corn cribs pretending to be animals in cages! We would take a picnic lunch and pick off and on for 4-5 hours.


The girls have great memories–and this place is nostalgic for us! :)


I’m not meaning to make you feel guilty by any means!  I’m just using that as an example–sometimes there is a time to just buy the blueberries….but other times, it might be time to spend a little more time, maybe even more money….to do something with your children that will stay with them forever.


Many moms (myself included) often think “I need to get this done” and just don’t feel they can harness the energy of those little ones. They’re playing happily in the other room–I can get supper on the table faster without them!   But of course it doesn’t last-usually someone needs you before you get the main dish put together!


Taking your children with you into your life, your work, will do two things.


1. It will say to them how much you enjoy their company, that even though you could get it done faster without them, you wanted their company. (Hmm….wonder if God ever feels that way?!)


2. It will train them in lifeskills that they will need, helping things to become second nature and helping your child to become more productive as he/she gets older.


My daughters can outpick me two 5 lb. cans of blueberries to my one!   Mama, those years where I picked the bulk of the berries but took them with me has paid off.  Now I better be getting lessons from them!  LOL!


Dishes, meals, laundry, gardening, cleaning…you could do it all faster and better.  But you will short-change your children learning skills that will help them become and even feel productive in the family.  Sending them off to play all the time might be easier…for now.


I would say most of us understand this in theory, but it is SO hard to do! That’s when we may need to let go of our standard—maybe you could buy berries already picked and get them done up in a few hours.  But then again, maybe you could take the littles to a nice patch, have a picnic lunch, make it a day, even get fewer blueberries picked….and tie heartstrings in a way nothing else would!


It is important to get things done, I realize, but it’s more important to spend time with your children, even if it means a chore isn’t done in a timely manner or not as efficiently as you’d like.


It can be a fine line between efficiency for efficiency’s sake and efficiency as a good steward.  The key is–does this build relationships, or take away from them?


Are you finding ways to enjoy their company while being efficient–or are you pushing them off, using the excuse “if I get this done quickly then I can spend more time with them”?  Because typically, something else rushes in, and then another thing, and then….you get the picture!  The tyrrany of the urgent wins again….and you still didn’t really spend more time with them.


So efficiency can be a friend….or a foe!


You decide by what’s in your heart.






(Next week we’ll look at the enemy of Expectations.)