I read a funny little article written by a parent the other day. She was talking about how stressful and busy things were from August through October of every school year. She went on in the article to list all the stuff she had to do, her kids need to do, all the extra-curriculars and school work (which often come in that order). On and on it went.
Teachers will tell you the same things. It seems things don’t really start to settle down until around mid-November; and that’s if things go well. We bustle around school trying to get everything done. Then, it seems when everything is caught up there is either something new to do or we even create things to do.
Yes, it seems some of us think we are supposed to run around all the time, stressed to the max, never quite getting caught up or giving ourselves a break. In the words of the mother in the article, sometimes we feel August through October is trying to kill us. Plus, some of us are teachers and parents!
Here’s something I’d like to ask everyone, though: Is all this running around really necessary? Is it wrong for us to think of ourselves once in awhile and just stop? Why don’t we take a breather once in awhile?
And you know me; I will probably take an opportunity to preach a little. In the mix of things and in this entire constant struggle to keep our head above water, how many of us take time to sit down and talk to God? How much of this time is spent even reading one verse of our Bible. In my case, I’m embarrassed to tell you.
I also think there are a huge number of us — maybe it’s a societal thing — who just think it’s supposed to be like this. Many of us think others are watching us, and if we don’t walk around most of the time with our tongues hanging out, we aren’t working hard enough. Teachers are like that, really; we certainly notice those on the staff who don’t work as hard as the rest of us. But hey, maybe those who work less have the right idea. Or maybe they have it all figured out.
There’s also the issue with our kids. Why do kids need to take every lesson, play every sport and stay up until late at night doing homework? Do we really care what people think as far as how busy our kids are?
Michelle and I were on that treadmill for a while. We let our boys try everything just to see what they liked the most. At one time, we were doing baseball, basketball, football, soccer and karate.
However, as the boys got a little older, they began to make decisions for themselves, with wise counsel from their parents. My oldest decided to focus on getting ready for college, focus on his classes and work a part-time job. That’s right. He doesn’t play a sport anymore. He was hounded by many and so were we when he made the decision. We were even told by someone that we should “make” our son play football. Hmm. Yes, we were sad about it. We had been going to football games for years. But we also knew our son had prayed and thought about the decision for a long time. In the end, we supported him.
We are now down to basketball with our younger son and gymnastics for our older daughter. Our little one is still waiting in the ranks to start her own hobbies.
I will tell you there have been some nights lately where we have gathered in the living room after youth group or even supper (where we all sat down together). Now, before you think I’m bragging and saying the Tullis family is above you all, I will tell you we still have struggles with keeping our schedules calm. Plus, there’s the added bonus of having teenagers in your house who don’t wish to socialize with those other than their friends. So, family time is still precious and we don’t have enough of it.
But I can tell you that having our kids in just one or only a few activities has been a good thing for all of us. We have extra time for the important stuff. We have time to rest. I think we have forgotten how important it is to get a little rest.
One more question: Are we addicted to all this running around? Do we thrive on stress? I’m beginning to think we do. And I’m wondering when someone is going to stand up and say “Enough is enough!” Let’s eliminate. Let’s streamline. Let’s get rid of some of the extras. Let’s schedule some rest time in there somewhere.
Are you all with me?