Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Woman to Woman

"Learning to Say No" is the topic Morning Glory and Lei chose for this week's Woman to Woman post. There is a lot I could say on this topic, all of it from personal experience. There are so many good causes, worthy groups, and great things deserving of one's help but the key word is I am only one person, with limited time, energy and resources.

With four children, I've been involved in helping with hockey, swimming, skating, track, PTA, band parents, church school and school sports. There were meetings, fund raising activities, chaperoning, events to work at and more bingos to work than I can count! All of these activities provided our family with amazing opportunities and many learning opportunities. But some days I was juggling schedules, commitments, and chores (we operated a dairy farm at the time most of this was happening) in a crazy way. Once I went to work fulltime, I quickly learned that some things had to give and I learned to be more selective about which activities I was going to commit to and be able to handle.

As a teacher, there is a never-ending list of projects, committees, events and causes that come along. Some things are must-dos, as part of my teaching assignment; some things are wonderful experiences for students; some things are professionally uplifting; some things are just fun! But if I try to do too many things, I've found out that my time inside my classroom and my students are bound to suffer. And that's the last thing that should give so I've had to consider carefully what the end result would be and who would benefit most before I agreed to do more. That was really hard to do sometimes!

As I've gotten older and wiser, it's been easier to say 'no' and not feel guilty about it. I've come to realize that my husband and my family need my best efforts and energy, not what I have left over after doing everything else. I've also realized that sometimes in groups we need to consider what we are doing in terms of people power and effectiveness. Doing a few things in a great way is much better than doing many things in a haphazard fashion in my thinking. Being constantly busy is not a good use of one's physical or mental energy either and the only person who can control that is me. So, I've learned to say "I can't right now" in a definite but pleasant way and leave it that.

So many others have expressed profound thoughts on this topic - make sure you go over to the host blogs and read those posts. There's alot to think about!


  1. I so agree with your post here. A lesson we must all learn to be truly effective and able to give of our best. So often we need to give up the good for the best.

  2. I also agree with you. Great perspective and it looks as if you've figured out what works for you.

  3. Wow these are some really great thoughts. Learning to prioritize is so important, and at times, so difficult. Thanks for participating!

  4. You have found what works for you, Crystal, and that is brilliant. I am so fascinated to read what everyone is saying, and we all seem sosimilar in outlook too, but there are always things to make us think too. Great post, and beautifully written!

  5. "Doing a few things in a great way is much better than doing many things in a haphazard fashion in my thinking."

    I fully agree with that!

    Thanks for chiming in!

  6. I'm so glad you shared this. Gosh, I could learn from this. It is so hard to say no and I really struggle with priorities. I don't know how you did it all when we were growing up. Honestly, 4 kids with all their activities, a dairy farm and teaching?! I admire you so much but I'm also glad you are taking some time off now to enjoy life and all the little things now too.

  7. This is a lesson I am just learning now... But I AM learning it and life is going much smoother!

  8. Anonymous6:42 PM

    "Doing a few things in a great way is much better than doing many things in a haphazard fashion in my thinking."

    In my thinking, too! I've had a hard time saying no in the past, and I've usually suffered for it in some way. I'm learning, slowly...