Put First Things First

Do you get frustrated having to say “no” often to your children? What if you taught them that your “no” was really saying “yes” and you are putting first things first?  When we say “no”, most of the time it means “YES” to something more important. Yes to healthier choices, habits, and relationships. Putting first things first in life means that we are choosing to put lesser things to later and first things to sooner.  Remind your children this week that your “no” is really a loving yes to the better version of them. Our no’s and yes’s reflect our values and when we are clear about what we value in life “no” is often the perfect and right thing to say.

One of my favorite lessons in the Middle School Pathways program is the rocks and sand exercise (see the Pickle Jar video link). It is a clear metaphor for getting our priorities straight and finding ways to be more intentional about our life and likely, being able to achieve more than we may have thought possible. Happy and successful people are great at spending their time and talent on what is most important to them; heart, mind, body, and soul.

Help your children to examine their “firsts” by asking them about each of the AACA colors:

  • Heart  – Who are the most important people in your life?
  • Mind  – What topics do you enjoy learning about most?
  • Body- How do you like to spend time physically? (favorite sports, hobbies… )
  • Soul – Why are you so special?

The other important message tied to this week’s habit is knowing what is important and urgent, and what is important but not urgent. Sorting the tasks and activities in our lives between these two ideas helps to keep our plates from feeling too heavy and full. I have attached a simple guide that may support our families in organizing our week/month and helping us to be intentional about our time and talents. I encourage you to print it, talk about it, and decide as a family how you can best use the precious asset of your time.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~ Stephen Covey

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ~ Goethe


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