As my children have gotten older I started to notice a growing trend. It’s the sheer busyness of moms and children. When you are a new mom and you have an itty bitty baby, you might feel overwhelmed with all the needs of the new little one. The first few months are hectic and then as the child grows and starts sleeping more through the night and taking regular naps us moms can take a deep breath as we finally have some free time again. Something happens, however, about mid-way through elementary school and seems to last all the way until the child gets to college. Moms get BUSY. I mean so busy that they barely have time to sleep – barely have time to hold a conversation that doesn’t revolve around permission slips and soccer practice. Rushing from here to there and back again – we might not have enough time for dinner before the next event begins.
I stopped recently to contemplate why this happens. Maybe we are trying to keep up with the Jones’ – or maybe we truly think that each and every item on our agenda is needed and worthy. I can assure you it is not. I see this as a troubling trend. It seems that there is a type of child worship that happens more in North America in this century that I’m not sure existed in years past or in other countries. Children seem to come first in a marriage, come first in the mom’s life, come first in life in general.
I wonder what historians will write about us hundreds of years from now. When all is said and done – what have we done? We have displaced what should be healthy relationships with other moms, extended family, our husbands, even the needy and the weary, and replaced it with piling more and more activities on our child.
Perhaps the child is the one who has asked to participate. Perhaps that. My answer is that we need to teach our child restraint. We need to teach them the value of others. It is far more valuable to spend my time teaching them the value of a schedule which breaths – a schedule that isn’t so tight that I can’t cram.one.more.thing.into.it than to join another sport or take another lesson.
A wise person recently shared with me that sometimes we turn to busyness to drown out and numb our pain. It can be a distraction of sorts. I desperately want my children to know the value of moderation. I want my children to know what it is to have silence. I want them to have time to think. I want them to have time to have a childhood. I want them to know what it means to have healthy relationships in which we are there for each other. I want them to know a life less rushed.
I wonder what would happen if we put down the schedule. If we just stopped – if only for a couple of months. Just stop the schedule and stop the noise. Leave it wide open to life. Perhaps you can show your child what it means to show compassion to others. Maybe you can build deep and long-lasting relationships. Be an example to your child about what a follower of Christ does. With leaving the space to allow life to happen, you might be surprised at how much learning happens in the in between.
I long for our hearts to be open to living out the gospel. My fear is that when the opportunities emerge we will too busy to notice. Join me as I embark on a calendar fast. I will intentionally not be pencilling anything into my calendar (except for doctor appointments) over the next three months. I will allow life to happen. My hope is to be there for others as their needs arise. To show my children that just because we are intentionally living for Jesus doesn’t mean we need to flood our life with anything we can possibly be involved with.
Our culture dictates that our children must be active – overinvolved in order to be anybody one day. I know that isn’t true. Sometimes we need space to figure out who we are. Sometimes we need time to hear God speaking. Somehow we need to stop trying so hard not to fail and leave it to God. Because busyness is not next to godliness.