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.