Thursday, September 20, 2012

Are You Running the Rat Race?

Earlier this summer, I had a conversation with a mom who confessed to me that, "We have not had a family dinner together because of sport practices since my son was 8."  That son is now 15 and there are two other children in the family who are also involved in various activities.  She went on to complain about how she felt powerless for change.    The pace for their family felt like a hamster wheel on overdrive.

For an instant, I felt sorry for her.  I felt like saying, "YOU ARE THE PARENT.  YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE CHANGES."

My husband often jokes with his people-pleasing mother that one day he will write a book called, "How to Say 'No'."  Because he does not struggle with pleasing others, or maybe it is because he is a thinker, he has a plan for his life (and probably a plan for yours, too - if you'd listen!)

Thankfully my husband's intentionality overflows into our family life.

Together, we have made hard choices not to allow our children to participate in every activity under the sun.  As parents, not only do we say no to our children, we have to say no (and explain our reasonings) to other well-meaning parents.  Peer pressure works well into adulthood.

Last night in a parenting group we were discussing why parents get caught up in the rat race of activities.  [BTW, this is the third time that Hubby and I have been in a discussion group for Shepherding a Child's Heart.  Now there's a parent's handbook/discussion guide that is great for small groups.  I highly recommend reading it - if you haven't already.]

This morning our group leader, Rob Smith, sent the following in an email.  It is so good that I decided to write this post so that I could share it with you.

I was pondering the question again as to why parents get caught up in the rat race of activities.  Kimmel (in his book, Little House on the Freeway) reminded me that there is a poison pill our culture offers called comparison.  “We need to be careful we don’t swallow it up.  It offers addictions to things that don’t last and cravings for things that don’t really matter and causes us to depend upon tomorrow to bring us happiness that today can never supply.”  Comparison has it’s companions in the bible called envy, jealousy, lust and greed.

We are RICH.  If we have 1) a personal relationship with the God of this universe and we have 2) children, then we are joint heirs with the Son of God which means the universe already belongs to us.  That fact should curb our comparison issues.  And on top of that we get the opportunity to pass on love to our children.  A love that will last forever.  Let’s count our blessings and enjoy our wealth!  Love that refuses to compare could be the best poison prevention we can provide for our kids.  Again the arrow points back to us parents.
Dear parent, do not forget that you hold the keys for change.  You are not powerless to float in our culture's current of incessant busyness.  Swim upstream and be intentional.  Make room in your family's schedule for quiet, for rest, for family dinners!


rtsmith1981 said...

Thanks for posting this Julie! We always need to be reminded of these things. We love having you and John in our group, a great way to get to see you more regularly at the least. :-)

volscats said...

Thank you friend. THis spoke to me and encouraged me so much with our family life.

John and Pam Majors said...

Go Julie!!! God bless you and all your efforts to redirect the parents to better choices for their busy kids.


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