Monday, April 22, 2013

The Lesson Box

Spring is synonymous with cleaning so I thought I'd do some. It's actually been more like cleaning out than cleaning up.
 Among other things, I decided to sort through some boxes I've had sitting on a closet shelf for several [meaning many] years. It held Family Home Evening lessons I made for my children when they were very small. See, I wanted to be a fabulous mom and I wanted fabulous kids. I got the kid part right but some of my efforts were a little misguided.
I spent months and years collecting FHE packets and lessons from boutiques and stores and Friend magazines because I just knew if I had the cutest and cleverest lessons my children would soak up the gospel and be perfect and have no problems in their lives. Yes, there was a point I truly believed that. But that's a story for another time.
The problem was they didn't sell 'TIME' with those packets and those packets didn't come put together. [What kind of mother would I be if I bought a ready made kit? I had to do my part] So I bought the FHE packets and put them on the shelf until I had time to get to them. Eventually one of my daughters colored and cut them out for a Young Women Value project. Then they got stored back on the shelf.
Did those lessons ever get used? Not much - definitely not like I thought they would. We did have Family Home Evening but we usually used another method for teaching. My kids liked to come up with their own ways to teach and they did great.
The box of lessons - standard storage size - sat on the shelf for a very long time. It was packed solid with great resources that were rarely if ever used and as I sorted them I felt really sad. There was so much there that I planned to teach and do with my kids but never did. This is not to say I didn't teach them - I did, but not with those things. I invested time, money and energy into those lesson packets but didn't use them. It felt like such a waste. I sent some to the thrift store and saved some for the daughter [now in college] who colored them. Maybe she will get more use out of them.
This experience got me thinking about all the things I thought I'd do but didn't - and why I didn't. I have found that most of the time I did what had to be done and what didn't get done wasn't usually necessary. The lesson box also helped me realize it's easy to get distracted from real purpose. It's easy to put energy and effort into things that don't really matter but seem like they do. The purpose of the FHE lesson packets was to teach my kids but there were simpler ways to do it that didn't require as much cutting, coloring, gluing and such that I didn't really have time for as a mother of young children who needed my attention more than my desire for incredibly cute flannel board stories. And trust me, they were incredibly cute.
By the time I finished cleaning out the box I had a small stack of lessons we used frequently and a large stack  hardly used at all. There are many analogies that could be made with this but the lesson that stuck with me the most as I sorted those 'lesson' packets was to make sure I put my time and effort into things that matter most so that I get done what I really want to do.
What lesson have you learned from the lesson box?