4 Questions to Ask Before You Say Yes

There is an endless need around us for scout leaders, home room mothers, church volunteers, and little league coaches. But you can’t do it all and maintain your sanity. The question then becomes, “Which requests do I say yes to, and which do I take a pass on?” We’ve outlined four questions to help you weigh the options and make the best choices for yourself and your family.

1. How does this activity match up with our core family values?

Recently, a minister in our church challenged us to sit down together as couples and write down our top five family values. Why? Because defining what truly matters based upon our faith and values system can answer questions like, “Where should we be investing our time?” or “Where should we be investing our other resources, like money?” Weigh each opportunity against what you’re trying to achieve as a family, and if the opportunity doesn’t obviously connect to one of those core values, it’s likely a poor fit. Don’t know where to start with defining your family’s top five? Consider these 3 Things That Truly Matter as a starting point.

2. Are my husband and I in agreement about this choice?

Your husband may be super laid-back and have little to say about how you spend your free time. But don’t take his support for granted. It’s important that you both consult one another before taking on additional commitments, because those commitments often result in family schedules and responsibilities being realigned. For instance, if volunteering with the adult literacy program in your community will require you to be away from home during dinner time a couple of nights per week, that impacts everyone. Talk it through, and figure out what works best as a team.

3. What is the benefit of this opportunity?

It may be obvious with some tasks what the benefit would be, but with others, it’s a little more ambiguous. For instance, if the new activity you’re committing to is purely for pleasure (like a monthly book club), it’s good to recognize that going in and categorize it in your mind as such. It’s great to pursue hobbies and interests that we find stimulating, but when we’re pressed on all sides for time or money, it’s good to know where to begin to trim the excess and regain some margin in our lives.

4. What’s the cost of this opportunity?

The costs associated with your involvement in certain pursuits may be purely financial, purely time and energy, or a mix of both. But everything we choose to do impacts other areas of our life, and we need to be aware of what we’re giving up to take part. For instance, if volunteering at the school every day leaves you exhausted when your kids get home and need help with homework and rides to ten different activities, fatigue is your cost. If joining the local tennis league requires buying new equipment and paying court fees, your costs are those real expenses plus whatever time at home you’re giving up to be there. Weighing the cost against the benefit is essential to good decision-making in business, and in everyday life!

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