Monday, August 25, 2014

From My Heart

I saw this quote on Pinterest. I could not find an author, nor do I claim to be. I do agree with it. One hundred percent.







 Stop the glorification of busy. These days people wear the word "Busy" as if it were a badge of honor. More often than not, when I ask people how they are,  I hear instead how BUSY they are...how much they run from activity to activity...how crazy their lives are... how they are never home. I hear how they have to run their child to soccer practice followed by dance class and flag football before a weekend basketball tournament two hours away. For sixth graders. And yet, I hear it spoke with a sense of pride, as if being busy is a symbol of status in our world today.


When Rhett was younger, I tried to have a birthday party for him. It was next to impossible to get any of his friends to attend on a Sunday afternoon, as they had flag football and soccer practice. They were seven years old! One mother told me she didn't even show her son the invitation, because he had a flag football game that day, and he would want to miss it to come to the party! That broke my heart.


I know I sound judgmental. And perhaps I am. But it is more than that. I have very strong feelings about the importance of family...The importance of allowing children to slow down and be kids. I feel strongly about living in the moment and allowing our children to experience their childhood in a state of peace. I urge young mothers to know they have a choice. It is possible to say no to the chaos, the craziness, the anxiety filled commotion that society portrays as the norm. It doesn't have to be. In our house, it isn't. And we are happy. Very happy.


Society wants us to believe that to be happy, to be successful, to be accepted, families must be busy... Busy running here and there...Busy sending four year olds to soccer camp and basketball tournaments...Busy attending every single party and wedding and get together held...Busy practicing high school sports twelve months out of the year, for a season that lasts six weeks...Busy signing children up for three activities every season, and eating dinner in the car in between events...Busy joining every committee and group we can.


I am here to say that is not true. You do not have to fall into the trap of sacrificing your family life for society. For anything. Because childhood goes by so quickly. And no matter how busy you are, how many sports or activities your children participate in, how many games you attend, how many committees you serve on, your children grow up. And childhood ends. I am speaking from knowledge given to me from friends and family, and have spoken about this to many parents whose children were all part of the glorification of busy. More often than not, they have regrets. They regret the fact that their children's childhoods were spent running from practice to practice, game to game, all in a blur of activity. And in the end...their children grew up. In the blink of an eye. And the thing they missed most? They missed the family time...The too few and far between moments of simply being together with their kids...Sitting around the dinner table, taking a walk after dinner, playing a game of kickball in the yard.


What is so wrong with allowing kids to play outside after school...riding bikes, playing chase...catching bugs...shooting hoops...just for fun? What happened to providing our children a childhood that consisted of playing outside, washing up, and sitting down to dinner at the family table? Unscheduled activities lead to freedom and imagination...and that is as important as schedule and competition. Society is producing a generation of youth who lack the ability to relax and fill time with fun, unscheduled activities...A generation that does not value family and peaceful, introspective time spent with loved ones. That is a scary thought.


I don't expect everyone to agree with me. Some families are naturally active. Asking them to stop activities would be the equivalent of asking me to hike the mountains every weekend. That is not going to happen! What I am suggesting that we make an effort to preserve the sanctity of family. We must allow our families to come first...Before sports and activities and parties and practices and craziness and running around. I am hoping that we can allow our children to find comfort in the quiet, unscheduled, peaceful, routine of family life. How can we do that? Simple. Eat dinner together. Take walks together. Play games together. Watch television together. Bake cookies together. Laugh together. Be together...in moments of peace. These are the moments our children will tuck into their souls and pull out years from now. These are the moments they will recreate with their own children someday.



Stop the glorification of busy. Allow yourself to take a stand. To say no to society. Say yes to your family. And you will find a true peace...peace not only in your home, but also in your heart. How do I know this? We have done it. And we have found it. And it is good.










25 comments:

  1. Thank you. I saw that pin last week, too, and I thought it was wonderful. Thank you for putting into words all the things my heart felt when I read it. Our family is so much happier when we have fewer places to be and less outside chaos. This weekend there was too much of everything and we all felt the strain. Craig reminded me that it this feeling and this pace is not typical and I was so relieved by that little thought. Thank you for cherishing family and time and stillness together. I love the things you stand for! <3

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  2. Very honest thoughts, and you are probably right that a lot of people won't agree with you. I'm on the fence about the topic myself. Our family falls into that "Busy" category once football season starts...4 nights a week at the park plus games on Saturdays. But we are also that family you mention that is naturally active and it would be foreign for us to not have football. The boys love to play, and I am one of the proudest football moms out there!
    On the flip side, I "crave" more time with my kids and have arranged my work schedule so that once Baby Girl arrives, I can be home with her 2 days a week and with the boys after school 5 days a week. I will still work and we will still do the crazy football schedule, but I am beginning to realize just how quickly they do grow up and I am doing everything in my power to be with my Littles as much as I can without giving up other things that we love just as much.
    Thank you for sharing, even if I don't 100% agree. :-)

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  3. Great post. Same for adults. I'm a recent retiree and I love not being scheduled every second. Time. To read, take a walk, talk with a friend. It's a glorious gift and one so easy to squander being "busy."

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  4. The very best times are when we're all home doing nothing in particular together. It's my preferred weekend type!

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  5. Family time is precious and as it is now, it goes by entirely too fast. I agree that we all need to slow down and love and appreciate one another. Good post my friend.

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  6. I remember the busy years, when my daughter was in school and all of the demands that come naturally, and some we place on ourselves. It can be a challenge finding a balance.

    These days, I'm enjoying life in the slow lane and have no desire to be anywhere else. Your post reminded me of the words of Socrates: "Beware the barrenness of a busy life." So often we wear ourselves out "doing" that we lose the art of just "being."

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  7. Amen! I hear ya..and agree. I have since stopped making arrangements around other people..for instant, I told my bil and my husbands uncle dinner was at 6. Dinner is at 6! We don't wait..anyways..I couldn't agree more..Blessings

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  8. Beautifully well-written and so true. Your family is an example and what you find important as a mother is the greatest investment you will make. May I use this as an article for our church newsletter.

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  9. crying... you have no idea how this hit me. This is why I come here. This is why this blog enriches me and teaches me and helps me strive to be what I really want to be. Just a mom. Not busy. Making good choice from my girls. I have always known you feel this way... you beautiful family life reflects what you wrote. And I admire you for that. Oh how I admire you and your husband.
    Scott and I have had many many many talks late into the night this summer about choices we made this summer in particular. And they were not good. I've been meaning to do a post on it and my feelings of a too busy summer so that I can remember it for next year. I think I will. Love ya Billie Jo! xo Can I print this and frame it in every room of my house?

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  10. For us, trying to keep the house clean is our busy. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that those things can wait. There may be a ton of laundry to fold, dishes to be cleaned, floors to be swept, but the kids are asking for me to read them a story and I'm reminded how precious they are and how sometimes the housework can wait.

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  11. I am SO with you on this. It has been such a pet peeve of mine these last few years when the reply for "How are you?" is answered with "busy." I have felt somewhat inadequate for not being as busy, feeling like I'm some sort of slacker. But just like you said, I do believe some people thrive on being constantly on the go and there's nothing wrong with that. I guess it's when they complain about being busy...that's what I don't understand.
    I'll take the slower pace any day, and you really showcased the beauty of that here in this post!

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  12. Heartfelt words and an AMEN! We are just not 'busy' people. I just cannot do it. When I have a week that has a couple things on tap that keep us away from home more than usual, our family life is disconnected. I sense it right away and I am miserable as I rush here and there in the name of 'busy'.
    I enjoy the slower pace, I need it, I crave it. Of course, with being a homebody and thriving on family time, it does take a bit more from me to actually get out and make plans. It's sometimes forced, but I need to do that too.
    I enjoy these family days and relaxed days because yes, these too shall pass.

    Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully in this post.

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  13. beautiful words from a beautiful heart!

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  14. Words of wisdom, my friend! Thank you for this post and the reminder to slow down and enjoy precious family moments.

    Have a beautiful day! Hugs!

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  15. So week written and something I needed to read and reread this morning. I have strong feelings about spending as much time with your family as you can. Yes life gets busy but you can say no to activities...this was something that took me many years to learn to say.
    Have a wonderful day !!

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  16. Great post, Billie Jo! It gave me a lot to think about and I appreciate your insight :)

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  17. From Dr. Meg Meeker, M.D. (on FB today) "We have too much information, too many decisions to make even about menial things like what type of lettuce to buy and quite simply there’s just too much noise in our lives. The result is that we feel pressured to do more, buy more, and be more.

    We must learn to simplify our lives because a simpler life is a happier one."

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  18. I couldn't agree more! Why is being so busy such an acheivment? We have never pushed our son into anything. The pressure comes from the other moms at school who make you feel like your child is missing out on something by not participating in every sport or activity. A little is fine but too much is chaos. We value our time at home together. We are simple. We are happy : )

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  19. This was so great! Thanks for the reminder - I think it's so important and such a stance AGAINST what the rest of the world tells us.
    I'll try to remember that as the girls get older ;)

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  20. Amen! I am so thankful for homeschooling. It allows the kids to participate in evening activities. I really have a hard time seeing how public school kids can do it! Mine are able to sleep in, to relax in between daily lessons to play or read or whatever inspires them or gives their brains a break. For me, no outside Sunday activity unless it is family related. I have kids from CCD class telling me they can't attend Mass because of sporting events (sporting events, mind you, that are part of CYO - Catholic Youth Organization!!). Admittedly, I am forever a homebody but my girls are social and I know of families that thrive on busyness so it's all about the attitude and what you do with the time you do have.

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  21. I LOVE this!! And I love YOU!

    I agree totally!
    Wish everyone did.

    I saw this earlier in the week, but have not had time to come back and comment til today!

    OH, my when people find out my kids are "only in piano" or "only in Unicycling" they think we are boring. We may be, but we have peace. (some at least)

    We tried swimming for one child this summer, it was only 2 mos, but practices were every week night, from 6-7,doesn't sound like that much, does it? Well, in order to do that, we'd have to eat by 5:15 every night (because we like to eat together) and leave by 5:40 to get her in time, not getting home til 7:30pm..It was hard. When it came time to sign up again for fall, we decided we just couldn't do it. It felt like all attention only went to one child. We don't try to revolve our lives around an activity. It's hard to find balance, as we have a very social girl that wants to be in everything. The others are fine with our slow family life.

    I need my down time. I need to be home. I love hosting people to come here, but afterward, I need to just be home and to relax with my husband and kiddos.

    Great post Billie Jo!

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  22. I agree with you and this is my philosophy as well but I think this is the minority opinion. Most families I know are the busy families on every committee and in every sport etc. In some way i always feel like I am failing my children because they aren't in as many activities.I think high school age they want to be more social but really before that its all unnecessary and falls into the extra category. The problem is the sports expect too much. Like my sons basketball team. They should only meet once a week for practice and one weekend game but they expect daily practice and games. Its not like they area ll going to be basketball stars. Its supposed to be for fun. But its not.

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  23. I love the idea of taking a stand against BUSY. We live in a society that demands that we justify our existence by our degree of business. It frequently happens to our family~we are asked (grilled) individually "So, what are you doing?" Once, I answered, "Enjoying a quiet life." You should have seen the shock and disapproval on the face of the person asking the question. It made me giggle.

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  24. I couldn't agree with you more. I myself don't have kids, but I have a lot of friends who do, and they all sound just like this. And childhood does go by quickly, oh so quickly. Let them savor every moment. Thanks for posting this!

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  25. I couldn't possibly agree more! We moved about a year ago and before then I was always always busy, I hated it because I didn't have much time with my friends. Now that we've moved I feel like I can really breathe and enjoy more things :) Anyways thank you for sharing your thoughts,
    - Hugs from Hayley

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Billie Jo