. The Ricks’ Law of Leaving
Our lives can be so chaotic at times. We feel rushed as we go through our days and seem to have more pressures than we can easily handle. It is hurry here, and hurry there. And don’t forget the diaper bag, this time, please!
One place of strength you can find, however, is what my kind husband calls the “Ricks’ Law of Leaving.” Long ago he discovered that “leaving” is an art which must be carefully orchestrated if a family is to avoid being rushed, tense, and VERY uptight by the time all the family members get into the vehicle and on their way.
Three items needs consideration:
1) The age and personality of the family members.
2) How much time it will take the family, once they reach their destination, to get from the vehicle to where they are expected (i.e., it takes some time to get the stroller out, the baby strapped in, and to walk the family into church).
3) The traffic which can be expected as you travel.
Let’s look at the each of these challenges and figure out some principles of action which can calm the “hurry” syndrome right out of our lives.
If we are to be logical about it, babies take 20 minutes to get ready to leave (including dressing, diaper changing, and diaper bag preparation), children each take 5 minutes (if you don’t have a habitual problem with shoe disappearance), teenagers take 10 minutes minimum (because this is one point of leverage which they tend to take advantage of if they are at a cantankerous stage), and parents take 15 minutes (because not only do they need to prepare themselves, there are usually other items which need stowing in the vehicle, wallets and money to collect, and etc).
This means that a family of four children needs to start getting ready to leave about 35 minutes before they want to walk out the door (fifteen minutes for the parents, plus 5 minutes each for the children = 15+5+5+5+5). Seems almost impossible to believe until you begin timing yourself. But is it true. It really does take a lot of time to get a family into the car!
A family with a baby and three young children will need 15+20+5+5+5 or 50 minutes. A family with more than four children will almost need to work diligently together to get in the car without an hour’s preparation. While practice will help reduce this time, family members will have to help one another. This can be most easily accomplished if older children are assigned a specific younger child to get ready.
While a couple with only one baby can get things ready in about 35 minutes (15+20), they would do well to keep up their skills, because each new child that comes into the family can length the “Law of Leaving” considerably.
So what is your “Law of Leaving” quota? If you really walked through it, how much sooner should you be getting ready for church, or to visit Grandma, or to go to the show? We all have friends that are always early. We have others that are always late. If we were to investigate, the difference is in their application of the “Law of Leaving.”
First calculate about how many minutes late your family seems to be when traveling. Adjust your “beginning” time accordingly. Changes within your family will probably not happen immediately, even if you could convince everyone you need to be getting ready to leave earlier. So initiate change by getting yourself ready first (nice and early); then get the vehicle packed with whatever is needed. From there, start with the oldest child and work down. The younger the child, the more likely they are to undress and take off their shoes before you get in the car.
It is helpful to have incentives for the child that can get ready the fastest, the teenage that is cooperative, and the spouse to goes the extra mile. You know what I mean! No one does anything unless there is a good reason. Make it pleasurable to get in the car and you will soon have the whole family up and helping get you on your way.
Find more helpful ideas in the House of Order Handbook.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.