The Burden of Busy Kids

graceformotherhood1

I’ve been working through this idea that we should live out each day intentionally. That means making choices about things, not simply reacting to life as it comes. It seems that most people prefer the later…just letting life happen and they simply react to it. When it comes to parenting, simply reacting can have catastrophic consequences.

Why do “we” as American parents, feel the need to keep our kids busy? As if being busy equals a happy, successful childhood.

I see so many parents who have an incredibly hard time finding one night where they could get together with friends because their kids have soccer, choir practice, Awana, play practice, dance class, etc. Not that any of those things are bad, it’s just that if your child has school all day, and some sort of activity all evening, when you do as a family, have time together?

I have felt the burden of busy kids. I’ve had the 10 second, shovel- food-into-your-mouth dinners. I’ve toted my gigantic purse to basketball practice with my laptop in it, in an attempt to get some work done. I’ve gotten up at 6 am – before my family, to try to get the bills paid, because there won’t be time later that day. But there is no joy in those days.

There is no intentional living in those days. It’s merely survival mode for the sake of having “busy kids” and I simply cannot do it anymore. It isn’t worth it, and P.S. – it doesn’t make happy kids!

The Bible lays out pretty clearly what our jobs as parents are. It is to raise them up in God’s ways. Teaching them about Him as they rise, as they go about their day, as they lay down at night. But when do we have time to work on character building and heart changes, when we don’t even have time to sit down to a decent meal together as a family? The value of family time cannot be overstated.

According to a CNN report, teens who have five or more dinners a week as a family, are drastically less likely to do drugs, smoke and drink.

It isn’t the food that is keeping them from trying dangerous things, it’s the fact that they have parents who are involved, interested and who care. It’s hard to be involved when your only job is as your child’s chauffeur. As a parent, don’t be afraid to say no. Come up with an intentional plan about what you want for your family. What do want to have time for (being hospitable and inviting people over, having time for family devotions, taking your kids on special date nights)? Once you know what you want for your family, then it becomes easier to decide on which activities to keep, and which to ditch. And I promise you, you won’t be sorry!

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