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Chaos Undermines Kindness

Thoughts on simplifying life to bring joy

I attended a conference for homeschooling parents last weekend as part of my job as a teacher/consultant for a Christian distributed learning school. As a long time teacher in both the public system and as a homeschooling Mom, I really love this new job and am so grateful that I can still pursue my passion for education and share some of the skills I’ve gained over the years.

The keynote, Bonnie Landry, focused a lot on simplifying life and as I looked over my notes, I realized that many of her principles are transferable to every area of life, not just homeschooling. One phrase that she used again and again was, “Chaos undermines kindness.”  She talked about a lot of things – from the physical chaos we sometimes allow in our homes, to emotional and mental chaos.

For instance, when we take on too many activities and our lives become chaotic because of an overly busy schedule, it is difficult to maintain joy.The answer? Simplify!  If you are spinning and the joy is gone, stop doing so much! Do not become slaves to activities. She also advised that each summer, take the time to assess your life. Just because you did it last year (or it was recommended by someone, or you paid for it…) you can say NO to things! Don’t become a victim to too much activity. Be home more to avoid the chaos.

Chaos can also affect our physical environments. The clutter of a messy home or having too many possessions to look after is, indeed, a problem for many. She mentioned Marie Kondo, author of Spark Joy and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I have always enjoyed the feeling of a tidy home so can attest to the truth in keeping my possessions from possessing me… Don’t let your stuff rule over you. Order makes us happy! Our external environment affects our internal disposition. Beauty affects our mood. Simplify even a small part of your life and it will spill over!

She talked about simplifying our lives by implementing routines, which also speak to the external, but then she also moved on to internal distractions and how to declutter our lives mentally and emotionally. One factor is to simply slow down! “Pause and give God a chance to work in the moment!” I really liked this quote, which was in relation to disciplining children, but it can certainly be applied to so many circumstances, especially when the tendency is to ‘react’, instead of reflect first.

One key is to surrender. Then ask, “What can I do well IN THIS MOMENT?” We tend to spend too much time in the future or the past instead of focusing on what is right before us. In her words, when our internal disposition is decluttered we are open to joy.

Overall, I enjoyed her keynote sessions although I did not get a chance to attend any of her workshops. However, I did buy a set of her books, most of which are compact how-tos on homeschooling practice which will be beneficial for the families that I help through my job as a teacher/consultant.

1 Comment

  1. William Kendall says:

    It sounds like you got a lot out of the event.

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