BUSY – One trend that’s ruining everyone


Busy.

Really busy.

CRAZY BUSY.

Over the past few years, this is the most common answer I get when I ask “How are you?”

busy

 

Gone are the days when a vague “fine” would suffice.  Everyone wants to feel needed, important, and mostly validated in their time use.  Enter “BUSY” – a way to discreetly pat ourselves one the back about how we are managing to juggle it all.  No it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re busy, you’ll fit right in!

Don’t worry, I know that life IS busy.  Being a parent is even busier!  There is laundry to do, mouths to feed, a house to clean, adventures to be had, characters to mold, schools to help at, church activities, and don’t even get me started on that coveted alone time.  Trust me, I totally get it.  But how out of control have things gotten?

How much of our busyness is completely self-imposed?  The music lessons, the sports practices, the volunteer organizations, the pinterest worthy meals, the perfect house, the unending stream of witty comments on social media with perfect looking kids, the perfect job, the crazy fitness goals…can you see where this is going?  Yes, we as adults are completely capable of how busy we let our lives become and how much we work ourselves to the bone in the mythical quest to “have it all”.   It is however tragic when kids, who don’t have the capability to say no to all of these things are too busy to just have a childhood instead of a full plate of things that will get them ahead, like that future soccer scholarship, the degree from Harvard and ultimately to be president of the free world.

As of late, I feel like I hear so much about people being busy that it drives me crazy.  It has morphed far past the point of being validated by being busy into an excuse for everything.  

Why don’t you exercise?  Too busy.

Why don’t you play with your kids more?  Too busy.

Why can’t you return phone calls?  Really, just too busy.

Can you see a problem here?

“Busy” has become the socially accepted excuse for pretty much everything.  I feel that when you say you’re busy ALL of the time, it has turned into “your not important to me”.  When it comes to being too busy for people, especially kids, that’s when a “your not important to me” turns into a huge OUCH!

Yes, when you put it like that, busy sucks.

Busy people don’t have time to have lunch together, go for a hike, or even just come over and hang out.  They are the ones who constantly say they want to get together or do something, but when an invitation is presented, busy pops up time and time again.  Guess what folks – if you’re always so busy that you need to decline someone’s offers at friendship or to be a part of their life, they are going to stop offering.  Pretty much if you want to kiss all your relationships goodbye, you should probably enter the realm of crazy busy.

Because really how important are your friends, your spouse, or even your kids if you have a successful job, an amazing hobby, a perfect house, or have the body of an Olympian?  Yes, our society has led us to believe that being busy to achieve these things is the most important quest we can embark on in life.

How wrong the world is!

This trend is quickly expanding into kids as well.  As I hang out on the playground with my kids after school, I am amazed by the number of parents constantly telling their kids that they don’t have time to play as they’re being rushed off to soccer, piano, karate, or cub scouts.  Even worse is the disappointment my kids face and tears in their eyes when asking time and time again for their friends to come over and play and time after time the other kids are “busy”.  Now that just makes me angry.  Yes, we’re a society where a 6-year-old is too busy to play with his friends.

Why?  Why have we done this to ourselves?  Gone are the days when people worked so they could live – now everyone lives to work!  Somewhere in this information age, our priorities have gone astray.  We’ve experienced the paradigm shift that Steven Covey so often talks about, but more often for the worse than for the better.

So what can we do to stop the madness?  Simply put, we have to be brave enough to stop.  Stop working like crazy, stop being super-mom, stop over scheduling ourselves and our kids, stop spending all of our free-time in front of a screen, just STOP!  Take time to relax (if you can figure out what that means), and just do NOTHING.  

The shocking thing is that by doing nothing, we will usually discover what is most important.  Hike to the top of a mountain to watch the sun rise.  Read a book.  Play with your kids.  Go to church.  Pray.  Talk with those you love.  Ride your bike.  Serve others.  SMILE.

Yes, that’s the reason that we do what we do here at Bring The Kids.  We want to fill our lives up with the things that are really important.  Oh, we’re far from perfect and have our share of busy times – because what family with 3 young kids doesn’t.  The thing is that as much as we choose what to do with our time and our life, we also choose what NOT to do.  We will not fill our life with soooooooooo many activities that we can’t have time to sit down for dinner, time to play a game together or even see each other all week.  I imagine that you feel the same way.  The fact that you even have time to read this speaks mountains for your priorities!

We will get away with our family more just to spend time together.  If adventure is part of that, the memories are all the sweeter. We deliberately work on slowing down, focusing more, and listening better.  Our adventures keep us grounded and connected to the things that matter most.  Our family, our friends, our kids and our faith.  That, my friends is the method behind our madness!

 

19 Comments

  • Suzi says:

    There’s so much choice of things to do that sometimes forget that we can choose. We don’t have to do everything that’s available to us, we don’t have to be all things to all people and we don’t have to fill every moment of the day with a structured activity. Free play, especially for young children, is so important yet so many people forget to include it in their day. Time outside and time in nature is so important yet people go for days without so much as stepping outside. End Rant :D Time to go outside and play in the snow.

    • bringthekids says:

      Totally with you Suzi. I’m just glad that my kids do have a choice and that we’re hopefully aware enough to allow for lots of free play and unstructured time!

  • E B says:

    If only the school systems would agree that they don’t have to cater to the working parents and provide day-long school to my young children… I like what they’re learning in school and all (especially some much-needed socialization in a supportive environment) but do they really need to be away from home for EIGHT hours every day!? Seriously. End my rant.

    No, for those not familiar with our situation or children, homeschooling is not a viable option for at least one of our children, and that same child would have a hard time accepting home schooling of our other children at this point in his/her life.

  • Kathy H says:

    Absolutely agree, I know so many people that have activities for their kids (and/or) themselves planned outside of school every single day, that it makes me wonder if they even know how to entertain themselves?

  • Erin says:

    I find that we even encounter people that are “too busy” out on the trails or in nature. Our family sees so many people that hike out to a beautiful waterfall or scenic overlook, snap a few pictures, and then immediately turn around and head back. We are always shocked. Don’t they want to take a dip in the falls, scramble over the rocks, or observe the resident animals? Hanging out with three kids you really begin to enjoy slowing down and appreciating every moment of the day. Instead of just checking another activity off of the
    to-do-list. Yes, sometimes you need to push through things like the bedtime routine, but if you are fortunate enough to adopt your children’s slower pace you find that you appreciate life and the wonders that it offers so much more.

    • bringthekids says:

      Isn’t it great to be able to step back and see things through a kids eyes? I feel lucky to get to experience everything new with each of my kids. Our current obsession – chasing bugs with my toddler (and occasionally catching them and accidently killing them with his super hero strength)

  • Tristen says:

    I would have read this post, but I’m waaaaaay too busy for that.

  • Tristen Lawrence says:

    Also I totally agree, it’s such a fine line. On one hand you want your kids to excel at something so they can have the fun of success, but on the other hand, I realized something was wrong when Corban was in pre-competitive gymnastics and I would shout out the back door where he was playing and say, “It’s time for gymnastics!” and the kids would cry. I’ve really been trying to simplify our lives and it’s good to read this post and feel permission to do so. Thanks so much for all of the great posts, except they make me really wish we were neighbors. We wouldn’t be too busy for you guys.

  • bringthekids says:

    Okay, then please move out here and be my neighbor again!

  • Jim Averett says:

    This post is great!! Thanks for sharing on this very important topic.

  • Terri says:

    I absolutely needed to read this today. Yesterday, my 1st-grade daughter brought home a school assignment, fill out a timeline (Monday-Friday) with important things that happened each day. The examples: lessons, sports practice, daycare, etc. The problem is that this is not at all applicable to our family. Sure we do things, just not on a weekly schedule. A lot of times we are at home, at a park, in our backyard, etc. just being. She was upset because her assignment made it seem not normal. Boy, was I angry at the school. We finally completed the assignment with a blanket statement: school & play every day. Ugh. My husband and I talked with our kids after dinner about this. We had to remind them that all families are different and we make different choices. Then we reminded them of all the advantages of not having something planned every single day (i.e. more time for play & spending time with each other). Your post was a nice reminder of why we find this so important.

  • I totally agree! The challenge it is so EASY to get sucked into busy, so much harder to make a conscious effort to carve out time for the things that matter. We try hard not to overschedule, but I find myself consumed with day to day “busy.” My focus for the new year is making sure that I make some “un-busy” time every day. Hey! I just found a new word! Un-busy! I like it! :) Tonight it was 40 minutes of laying on the floor with my 4-year-old to play cars and listen to music. Yesterday it was a movie on the couch with my boys. And it feels GOOD. Great post.

  • Jo says:

    Love! Love! Love your article!!! As a mom of 3 grown girls, and Nana to 2, I cringe when people tell me how busy they are. My mother has always said, “Everyone has 24 hours in a day. What you choose to do with it is your choice.”
    Slow down and smell the roses is my favorite phrase. And that’s what I try to do. If someone wants to talk to me, or needs me, I stop to listen/help, stranger or friend.
    It’s hard to go see one of my grandchildren, who is an hour away, because they go out of town almost every weekend!
    I’m off to plan a camp out with my grandson. Yes it may be inside, but we will have fun anyway!!

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