The Power of Decluttering

January 22, 2021

Dear Parents,

A number of years ago, I read a book that had, and still does, an impact on me and I would like to share some thoughts from it with you.  The book, by Bill Hybels, is called ‘Simplify – 10 practices to unclutter your soul’.  One chapter deals with time and our use of it.

As a husband, father, and Head of School, time is of the essence.  ‘So much to do, so little time.’  I know that for many, if not most of our parents and students this is also true.  What is true from my experience is that unless I prioritise what is most important to me, then the tyranny of the urgent will push those greater priorities to the back.

Bill Hybels asks the question ‘What would my schedule look like if God were in charge of it?’  How would God have me spend my (His!) time today?  In a book called Spiritual Leadership there is a great quote,  ‘Each moment of the day is a gift from God that deserves care, for by any measure, our time is short and the work is great.’  No wonder the Apostle Paul says ‘Look carefully how you walk ….. making the most of the time’ (Eph 5: 15-16 RSV).

So, what should guide us in making priorities for our time?  Crucially it should be framed by the two Great Commandments, to love God and love others.  Identifying and putting these priorities into our calendar is important.  I love Bill Hybels’ statement ‘My schedule is far less about what I want to get done and far more about who I want to become’.  What a beautiful perspective!  Use the time God gives you to be the type of person you will be commended for, both by God and man (Luke 2: 52).

Our desire to walk with God, to be led by the Holy Spirit, to imitate Christ, needs to be reflected in our meditation of God’s Word and in prayer.  Does our schedule reflect that?  Do we have quiet times set aside to draw on and drink deeply of his Word – a gospel that comes with the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1)?  In education we expect our students to read textbooks, to research topics in order to learn and grow in their knowledge of a subject.

May I be bold and encourage, even implore parents to do the following?  Set an example to your children by your own quiet times with the Lord.  It is not with a pharisaic ‘heart of showing off’ but with humility that we show our children we prize our time with God in order to grow in our love and admiration of him.  Do meal times take place in front of the TV or do around a time of conversation, fellowship and family prayer?  We must not let busy lives take our focus away from the greatest priority – our walk with God and family.

The strength of this school will come from Christian families strong in their faith and walk with God.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will grant us all the understanding that ‘The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing’ – life with Christ.

In Christ

Richard Vanderpyl

Head of School