Some days, I feel more like a taxi cab service than anything else. The amount of time we spend driving one of the children and several of the children’s friends seems astronomical! On the average afternoon I give at least 2-4 children rides home from school. I don’t know if their parents even have any idea that I do it. They would have to walk, otherwise, in what has been an abnormally cold winter. When I am driving around children, I hear about their life. What teachers and classes they like. What boys or girls they have crushes on. Who’s mad at who and for why. What they are struggling with. And I have often been told”Please don’t tell my Mom, but…..” And I feel so sad for them and for the parents that are missing out. I tell them they should tell their parents this stuff. Parents want to know about their kids’ life. And they assure me that THEIR parents are too busy to care about silly stuff like that. Too stressed. Too tired. Their parents don’t care. I know some of these kids’ parents and I can’t believe that’s really true. Surely these parents love their kids just as much as I love mine? But for whatever reason, it’s not being communicated. And I get that, because I often feel like I myself, am not communicating it the way I want to. Why is that?I believe it come down to 3 different reasons. Time, Stress, Priorities.
1. Time We are all trying to squeeze in just a one more little thing into our already heavily extended day. One more activity, class, t.v. show, one more work related thing. Our days are stretched so thin, that most of America’s families find it hard to have supper together anymore. We find it hard to really talk for more than a few seconds of time to our loved ones, because there is just so much we HAVE to get done before we fall into bed exhausted, so we can wake up exhausted the next morning and start over. There’s just not enough time. Or at least it seems.
2. Stress. We are one stressed out nation! Even the young ones are showing it. We have more children than ever, young children, who are on drugs for depression, ADHD, anxiety, etc. Part of this stress has to do with the previous reason, time. We are so busy cramming so much into our schedules that our brains have no time to just relax, take in life, and enjoy it. Another part is that we have been sold a bill of goods by our culture that says to really be someone we have to have it all: Nice house, fancy cars, money, success,children who can do it all and do it all well. And we don’t want to just have it all, we want to have it all, NOW.. or better yet, yesterday. I believe that we are also stressed because of the lack of connection that we have with our family and our friends because we are so busy. Independence is lauded at the best way to be in the USA. But it’s not how we were created to live. We NEED eachother. The tribal living of old where grandparents, and aunts and uncles all lived with you and helped share the weight was a wise one and one that our bodies were better suited for. Our minds and spirits were better suited for. We feel guilt if we do relax for more than a few seconds because it doesn’t seem productive. Ah, what a terrible web of stress we as a society have woven.
3. Priorities, or lack of. We are so stressed and feel so out of time that we have a hard time, figuring out what is the most important thing and how to make that the most important thing. I think we would all agree that we WANT our families, God, loved ones to be the most important things in our lives. But instead, all these little things come in and take over and we let them. Because we have failed to prioritize. To be intentional. To make the steps needed to protect our lives from being so stressed that we are just trying to keep our heads above the water, so we don’t drown. I believe that there are things that can be done to protect our children’s childhoods and their hearts and in the process save us from destroying ourselves. I hope to cover that in my next post. The changes that I am vowing to make this year, for my family’s sake.