Are you drowning in busyness? What if we all just stopped for a few moments, took a deep breath, snuggled up to our favorite people, and watched the cookies bake?

I recently heard an interview on Family Life Today with Joanne Kraft, mom of four, who found herself engulfed in busyness to the point of “chaos.” She began to feel “addicted to busyness,” becoming so used to the stress and chaos that she was finding her value as a mom in that state. Way too much fast food, rushed meals, evenings away from home–“when your children think all meals come with a side of fries.”

Joanne and her family embarked on an experiment–a “radical sabbatical” from any activity that would take Mom or the kids out of the home. Sports, dance–anything that resulted in spending more time driving from function to function and not spending time around the dinner table at night–well, it just had to go on sabbatical. (After school activities like choir practice stayed in place because they did not involve Mom piling people in the car to transport.)

This revelation came to Joanne on a New Year’s Eve when visiting with a group of girlfriends about how crazy busy they all were. The “What if” question arose. What if we stop all of those extra activities for one year? Joanne decided to take up the challenge. When the family gathered on New Year’s Day and heard the news, the children thought, “Mom’s lost her mind.” Her oldest daughter was quoted as saying, “Mom’s just going through a phase. She’ll get over it.” Mom didn’t. She stuck to it for the next twelve months.

Though Joanne admitted she loved watching her children play sports and perform in other activities, her focus was this: “What are those things that I want my children to know–what valuable, eternal things–what is going to last? What mark is my family making together?”  Joanne wondered if all of the extra distractions were hindering rather than helping reach her goals.

In education and in parenting, one of my mottos was “modify and adjust.” I took the good teaching strategies that I witnessed and read about and adjusted them to work for my students. I gleaned effective parenting strategies from observation and reading and modified them to work for my family. You may not be interested in taking a break from all activities such as Joanne Kraft’s radical sabbatical. But we can certainly learn from her experience. And, after evaluating your own situation, you may choose to “modify and adjust” to meet the needs of your family.

During the interview with Dennis Rainey on Family Life Today, Dennis asked Joanne, “So, what was the number one takeaway at the end of the year? What was the essence of what your family gained from that year?”

Joanne’s response: “We drew closer. Our relationships are deeper. We fight for time together now. We see it differently.”

“We drew closer. Our relationships are deeper. We fight for time together now. We see it differently.”

The Kraft family’s sabbatical is over now but Joanne says if the busyness ever gets to the point where it is drawing her away from her family, they may have to consider it again.

Listen to two Family Life Today interviews with Joanne Kraft here.

Read her book: Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical

Consider these words from another very wise woman…

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31

Let’s face it. None of us can do a thousand things to the glory of God. And in our vain attempt we stand the risk of forfeiting a precious thing—EXCELLENCE. Oh, that we might discern the will of God, surrender to His calling, resign the masses of activities, and sell out to do a few things well. What a legacy that would be for our children.”  –Beth Moore, Things Pondered: From the Heart of a Lesser Woman