Busy, Busy, Busy

As I start writing this I am sitting at gymnastics, having just come from softball practice. My husband and I have left the “chase our kids around” stage of life and are now firmly in the “drive our kids around” stage. It seems it is all we do—practice, lessons, school musicals, sleepovers. It never ends.
One of the most common “complaints” I hear from parents is how busy we are. We don’t have time to sit and eat as a family, for example. We know we are over-scheduled, but yet when everyone else is starting sports in first grade and your kids don’t, you tend to fall behind. This is a lie, of course. Tom Brady didn’t play football until he was 14. But we all feel the pressure to keep up.
Lately at SLC, Sunday school attendance has plummeted. And we are as guilty as the next family. When our kids are exhausted from a sleepover and four baseball practices a week, it is pretty easy to let them sleep in on Sunday. Sometimes we go to Roots [our 5 pm service], but sometimes we skip altogether because we all just need a break.
But it is funny how the first time you skip church or Sunday school makes the next time all that much easier to skip. And since you get to “play on the team” no matter how much you show up, it is easy to give our commitments at SLC bottom priority.
But what message is that sending? First I have to say that a big part of me LIKES to be busy. In high school, I was in charge of everything: president of the student body, band, choir, you name it. I thrived on keeping a tight schedule. And many of us say that our kids like this too. They love to go to sports and to have sleepovers and to play piano –but they are certainly not above complaining about going to church.
So given that I love to be busy, I know I have to be careful. Kids are not adults; they need time to play and to be kids. And to be bored.
The fact is, we live in a busy world. And we need to help our kids navigate. The word we try to focus on in our family is BALANCE. And in that balance, church is not going to win every single time. But I do want it to “win” most of the time. Why? Because I’m the pastor? No, because habit is important in faith –in prayer, in devotions, in giving, in all those things. And I’m hoping my kids keep up their faith for a lifetime.
At the same time, I don’t want them to resent church and faith. So we balance. We prioritize. We teach them that when you say yes to one thing, that means you are going to have to say no to something else. Sometimes we say yes to rest, or to something fun that conflicts with our faith practices. But sometimes we say no to the team that has all their games on Sunday morning, even if our kids’ best friends are on that team. Or we try—oh so hard, to step back and say no to the rat race of over-scheduling our kids.
It is a journey and a balancing act and one of the hardest parts of parenting kids as they get older. But I keep reminding myself that being in worship alongside others whose faith has seen them through so much, or being in Sunday school with other kids who have the same questions they have and with teachers who are willing to listen is the true treasure. They won’t be able to do cartwheels at age 80, but they will be able to pray and worship. And I pray every day that they will do just that.

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5 responses to “Busy, Busy, Busy

  1. Amen! What worked for us, You get to have…. Church/ youth group, musical instrument, and one sport per season. And no select programs. Give them Choices. Time. Friends. And now they have a sense if balance and drive themselves to high school Sunday School. Never easy is it.

  2. I agree about the balancing act, but the church will always be there, having fun, encouraging and being with your kids won’t always be there. I miss driving a car full of athletes to events but I had 12 great years while it they needed me as driver, first aider and food provider.

  3. Being seniors, we look back! The activity-pressures are larger now, but the “gotta relax sometime” pressures to keep our kids with us in Church and Sunday School are not that much different. Hang in there! Lots of trying — it won’t be perfect, but the more Church and Sunday School that happens weekly– you won’t be sorry! As our son told us at age 23, “You know, Mom and Dad — we gave you hard times — but we knew you were right!” Kids need strong leaders even more today, with heightened peer pressure, social media, etc. SLC is an exceptional congregation that doesn’t happen everywhere and every time. Carpe Diem! Thanks be to God.

  4. Our daughter’s Jr & Sr years were exactly like this with all her involvement in school activities, club sports, volunteerism, social activities. I am so thankful for Klahowya’s Young Life program. We were satisfied with her attendance at the Prayer meeting before class everyday in lieu of regular attendance at church. She also went to Young Life one night a week. Sunday mornings were almost impossible with club Soccer games.

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