Are you burning out your kids with too many scheduled activities? Are you, like Martha (Luke 10:40), allowing busyness to distract you and your family from what is truly important? These are questions worth asking. Many of today’s parents want their children to experience everything that’s available—motivated in part so that their kids will be able to “compete” with their peers when college scholarships are handed out. Those are laudable intentions. But are all the sports practices, singing lessons, and dance recitals worth the price?
According to recent studies, free time for kids is down to only six hours a week. Moms average more than five car trips a day running errands and chauffeuring their children. Typical of this scene, perhaps, is one Chicago-area mother of four busy children. She admitted recently that her one-year-old was practically being raised in the family minivan. “When he’s not in the van, he’s somewhat disoriented,” she said.
When kids aren’t sure which is home, the house or the family car, something is definitely wrong. Give your children downtime to play, to wonder, to “waste some time,” and to just be kids. Solomon describes the relentless pursuit of knowledge and achievement, when not inspired by God, as “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:16–18; 4:4). We agree.
Before you say good night…
Do your kids have free time every day?
Do they enjoy their outside activities? Do you?
What activities might you consider cutting from their schedule?
Slow us down, dear Lord. We’ve been like Martha, worried and distracted, instead of Mary, who spent time at Your feet, enjoying and adoring You. Please change our hearts by Your indwelling Holy Spirit. Amen.
Statistics and illustration from “The Parent Trap,” Newsweek, 29 January 2001; and the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and the Surface Transportation Policy Project of Washington, D.C., as reported by Cox News Service, 26 July 2000.