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