Last Updated on March 20, 2018

by Paula Dumas

“But everyone is going to be there!” my son argued.

And thus began our teachable moment about protecting family time by saying no to every birthday party and club gathering our boys are invited to attend. Just say no. It’s okay to say no. “No” isn’t rude at all, if delivered graciously and without white-lie excuses.

For weeks, I couldn’t figure out why in the world my often shy 11-year-old son wanted to go to a party in another neighborhood for an unknown (to me) girl’s birthday. (And no, definitely not his girlfriend; that’s another story.) Her name had never come up before, and I didn’t know her parents, and I had no intent of dropping him off to a boy-girl party. That wasn’t the point, really. It’s about prioritizing important relationships over unimportant ones.

In our case, I work full time and cherish the Saturdays, Sundays and weeknights I get with our boys. Busy is a giant beast we fight every week to protect family time. Check out the devotion on simplicity in the FamilyLife Marriage Bible. It talks about “organizing the smaller commitments of life around our primary commitment to Him.” And to each other, I’d add.

Sorry, Buddy—no party this time. Just more time with Mom and Dad, just maybe to create memories worth keeping.

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  1. Tracey Lanter says:

    I agree 100% – I'm all about creating family memories! You have to have relational equity with your children if you want to be able to speak into them when the "tough subjects" come up!

  2. We have this rule, too! As a matter of fact, we often don't do MOST of the things we are invited to as the ADULTS for the same reason. My husband is a Marine.. he has deployed 7 times in our marriage and so we really understand spending our time together as a family is the most important thing 🙂
    God bless,