I was surrounded by passionate home educators all week-end. Listening to their concerns, I realized how much home educators need to heed the call to rest. Here’s why:
- You’re on 24/7.
- You live at your workplace.
- You live in dual roles (parent/teacher).
- You have a deep spiritual calling.
I then did some reading from Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation and was particularly interested in an article entitled “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time” by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy in a book called On Managing Yourself (2010). They highlighted four areas of life where you need to manage your energy, as opposed to your time.
The four areas are: body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In the body section, they discuss “ultradian rhythms” and the need for intermittent recovery through breaks after each 90- to 120-minute ultradian rhythm cycle. In each cycle, you experience high energy and focus and then fall into a trough of low energy, requiring recovery. In the emotions section, they discuss defusing negative emotions, cultivating positive emotions, and expressing appreciation. In the mind section, they emphasize the need to fully focus on one thing at a time, avoiding interruptions, and completing tasks, before moving on to the next project. (There goes multi-tasking . . .) When they discuss the spirit, they refer to placing your energy into tasks and projects that align with your sense of purpose and values (now that’s homeschooling!).
As you reflect on the importance of your calling as a home educator, and the dedicated spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual energy required to do the job well, prayerfully reflect on these questions with the Lord:
- Lord, how am I keeping my life balanced (e.g., nutrition, exercise, sleep hygiene, rest in general, personal needs, intellectual and spiritual growth, emotional/social growth) and where do I need to pay increased attention to how I allocate my energy?
- Lord, what unique opportunities have You placed before me where I can find rest in the midst of my busy home educator schedule (e.g., retreat house, home group, quiet time, coordinating with friends who are homeschooling, infusing breaks and fun, honoring the Sabbath)?
- Lord, am I following Jesus’ example (Matthew 14:23; Luke 9:18) to retreat from the crowds for quiet reflection, prayer, and communion with You? Am I listening to Your Spirit, or am I constantly on the go . . . depleting my energy rather than restoring my spiritual energy through a posture of prayer and internal peace?
Lord, give me the grace to not be on 24/7 but to have the discipline to keep my life balanced, regularly retreating for prayer and communion with You so that I might be restored, rested, and inspired by your Spirit towards ever-increasing spiritual riches in the homeschool journey. Amen.
June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University