Teaching kids to write on notebook paper is a several step process. Even before teaching them to write between the lines, you have to teach the things we take for granted, like the orientation of the paper. The holes should be on the left, and you should begin writing not in the large blank white space at the top of the paper, but on the first line, to the right of the faint red vertical line.
You teach them to respect the margins.
I am learning a lot about margins in my life.
If my life was viewed symbolically as a piece of paper, too often I was using up the entire sheet. There was no space. There was no margin. With no margin, it was too easy for one little thing to send me right off the edge.
So, I worked to create some margin in my life. Here are just a few examples:
- I can wake up at 6:30am and have just enough time to get the kids awake and dressed, fed breakfast, and their lunches made. Most days it works. But sometimes an “emergency” springs up (“Mom, have you seen my other shoe?”… “Mom, I need you, my hair is sticking up weird!”…. “I can’t find my library book!”…”I just remembered, I was supposed to be at school 20 minutes early today!”) and “just enough time” doesn’t cut it. We are left scrambling, cranky, and nearly late for school. Waking up at 6:00 instead of 6:30, while not fun when the alarm sounds, creates a comfortable margin and things go smoothly even if my daughter feels the need to change clothes 4 times. (She’s only in the first grade. I dread Jr. High years.)
- The bank says we can afford $x number of dollars for a mortgage. That may be true….but if we spent $x amount of dollars it would leave us without any financial margins. We’d be able to pay our bills each month…but there would be no room for giving or saving or emergencies. We have lived without financial margin, and it’s no fun. Many months things go along okay, but when a mechanic bill springs up or your air conditioner goes out, you go tumbling over the edge. So, we don’t let the bank decide how much we can afford. We back down several steps away from that amount to allow giving, saving, and to create margin. (Check out a Financial Peace University class if you need help creating financial margin in your life!)
- Our calendar has blank spaces. It’s so temping to fill those blanks in, isn’t it? Don’t see them as blanks. See them as healthy margins, and respect them as such. You don’t have to squeeze in another baseball league or gymnastics class just because you can. Value that margin and use it as precious down time with your family.
- Having relationship tension in your marriage or with a friend? I believe that forgiveness is what creates margin. Don’t keep a record of past wrongs, filling up the page with offenses. Create margin by choosing to forgive; free up space for God to work in that relationship.
So, is there an area you need to create some space? Living life teetering right on the edge is stressful, and too often you get knocked from the edge and fall right on over. There is peace to be found in the margins.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
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Many may know that our dear Starr and her family are now residents of Athens, Georgia. We were so pleased when she graciously agreed to remain on at Prize31 and share with us from time to time! Be on the look out for future posts by Starr as well as other guest writers to be introduced in the future.