On the Importance of Balance


Photo by A. Fisher

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter’s classmates from last year had a reunion of sorts, and got together to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Although we were a group of close to 30 kids and parents all in one car, and the atmosphere was therefore rambunctious and loud, for me it was actually a relaxing and leisurely trip. These are not words I typically use to describe my days!! The train ride from Cumberland to Frostburg was about 45 minutes, through mountainous, rural, western Maryland. It was a gorgeous day, with the autumn leaves just beginning to show. Not only was it picturesque, I was a captive audience.

After about an hour walking around Frostburg, we got back on the train for our return trip. As I was driving to and from this excursion (2 hours each way- more leisure time), I reflected on my family, my work, my goals, and my relationships. Without the normal pressures of time commitments, appointments, schedules, and other expectations, I was able to think deeply and creatively about a variety of things. During this very productive “down time,” I was reminded how important it is for busy people to regularly change their routine in order to build in time for rest and reflection.

In my definition of “busy people” I automatically include parents! How often do we schedule time for ourselves to just stop, think and reflect?

At Seneca Academy, we promote balance as one of our IB/PYP attributes, and teach this concept to our students. We ask them to balance academic time with active time, reading time, creative time, social time, technology time, etc. We ask them to balance their focus on learning about math with learning about social science, language, music, writing, etc. But are we, as adults, practicing what we preach? By balancing the busy, hectic times in our lives with restful and reflective times, we allow ourselves to move from reacting to reflecting; from focusing on details to focusing on the big picture. The most important aspects of our lives can then become clear. And we model what we expect from our children. By taking the time to drive out west for a fun activity with my daughter, I was reminded, once again, of the need for balance in my own life as well.

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