On My Plate

“I have so much on my plate!”

Most of us have thought and/or said this before. Many of us have done so many times. When we do, we are thinking of a plate as a vehicle for stuff to do, tasks to accomplish. What if we turn around that perspective and remember how we usually view a plate?

Plates are where food is served. We serve others with delicious treats. We serve ourselves a nutritious meal to provide energy for the day. We are served works of art at fine dining restaurants.

When we have “a lot on our plate,” it is usually because much has been given to us or we have greedily taken more than we can eat.

Privilege generally comes with responsibility. A large salary has a heavy weight attached to carry. Leadership is hard work. Mother’s Day has at least one child, with all the joy and mess or grief.

When we look at what we need to do, we can keep our eyes on the task list (in dismay) or we can refresh our attitudes with a reminder of what blessings come with those tasks.

  • Taking time for a hospital or homebound visit comes with a sweet conversation and the encouragement of relationship.
  • Serving lunch comes with mouths to feed.
  • Running errands comes with the provision of required finances, groceries, accessible necessities.

It is hard to decline opportunities. Whether we are seeking to make everyone happy or simply greedy for all the benefits, there is a cost. We can’t do everything. It’s simply not possible.

As we examine whether we need to be doing any given thing, it is helpful to remember that the blessing/task combo we’ve discussed will also be a blessing to others. Are we clinging to something that would help our neighbor?

  • Is there a student looking for odd jobs for a mission trip or tuition? You can delegate.
  • Do you know an introvert who would appreciate the quiet but still-relational task of volunteering in the nursery or serving at a tea? You can ask and share that joy.
  • Is there a retiree in your neighborhood that would love the noise of children in the yard every now and then? You can share your bounty.

It is also good to remember that we have all we need. Benefits are good — by definition — but, in Christ, we are not constantly starving for more and don’t need to act that way.

Preparing for School at Home

As promised, we are continuing on the topic of possible schooling at home on a widespread level this year.

An ounce of prevention… Let’s talk about what you can do ahead of time to make school time so much easier.

It sounds simple…or trite…but gathering the student body (whether that be 2 or 12) together before kicking schoolwork into gear can be a blessing. Everyone is together, and the focus is on God. It is a daily reminder of our dependence on Him for what is needed to get through the school and work day, as well as a refresher on our goal to glorify Him as we do that.

Gathering supplies
Boxes or bags dedicated to one activity — in this case school work — help just as much when schooling is done at home as when everyone leaves the house. If all the books and tools are in one place, everything is ready when needed. The boxes can stay in a closet when it is not school time, but then be carried right to the assigned spot of the student for use. Everything goes back in the bag when school time is over, ready for the next session.

An extension of this principle is the need for charging devices. Devices that may be used for entertainment the rest of the day should be returned to the appropriate bag or box by bedtime and plugged up in a nearby outlet. Then they will be ready to roll in the morning. An alternative practice would be if you can have all devices in one place overnight to charge. Then everyone grabs a device and a bag each morning.

Gathering materials
This requires advance prep, whether it be the night before or the morning of, but the time invested adds value to the learning process and the daily atmosphere.

Before each student goes online for a class, make sure they have (or are trained to get ready for themselves, if they are old enough) what they need right beside them.

Before any student needs to take a test or go online or complete a quiet activity, be sure that any other students are aware of the extra need for quiet and occupied sufficiently for that time. This requires meshing schedules for multiple children — or your work schedule and school schedule — but it pays off.