Busy-ness: The constant need to be doing something, the desire to fill one’s daily schedule with activities, the belief that being busy is directly related to success.
“Busy-ness” seems to have become a family business these days. Somehow, our culture has come to value the need and desire for constant activity; touting jam-packed schedules as a parental badge of honor. This over-scheduling practice is becoming and ingrained belief system, and we are teaching an entire generation of young people that busy is best; but at what cost?
Filling family member schedules to the brim with activities, meetings, appointments and chores is so commonplace; I often hear parents bragging to each other about how BUSY their families are (I once saw two moms whip out their smartphones and compare schedules, as if it were a contest!). There is a busy-ness epidemic, and the side effects can be seen in doctors’ offices across the country. From stress and anxiety to impacted immunity, we are not imparting our kids with wisdom, we are imparting them with poor health (and many other negative consequences).
As parents, we need to ask ourselves some tough questions about how much we are scheduling for our kids (or allowing them to schedule for themselves). Understanding the impact of choosing “BUSY” can help lead to making some positive changes. Here are 5 Unexpected Ways “busy-ness” impacts kids (and what to do about it):
Knowing thyself is crucial for success, and it will never ever come from a busy schedule! In fact, it’s the opposite; self-awareness is only fostered in stillness. It is through silence that we become totally aware of who we truly are. Our soul is not our body or our busy schedule; it is part of universal energy. To connect with the energy of our highest selves, we need silent time each day. This cannot be squeezed in between appointments, it has to be a practice. Without this awareness, at some point, people feel lost and unfulfilled. Teaching children to practice silence and stillness so they can connect to spirit and their higher selves is an amazing practice with positive results. Meditation is an incredible tool for this, CLICK HEREfor an article with several different methods.
Discernment is the practice of making authentic choices that are in alignment with our highest good. When we are constantly busy, it is difficult to determine what we truly want or like to do. Busy-ness can impair decision making on this level, because we never take time to ask ourselves if we are truly enjoying all that we are doing. Discernment is all about tuning into and listening to our intuition; following what we know is best for us. Teaching kids to follow their instincts is vital for helping them ultimately create the life that they want. If they do not take time to ask themselves questions, they never learn how to get the answers from within. Start asking your kids if they truly enjoy their busy-ness; work together to alter the schedule by choosing to invest their time instead in one or two things they enjoy, instead of spending it frivolously on multiple activities.
School, clubs, sports, daycare, lessons, classes, camps etc… are all organized activities. These are programs and they are teaching our kids to be programmed; instead of using their imagination to explore the work, we have spoon fed them with structure and plans. We so highly value filling calendars and resumes, that we have forgotten to just let our kids be kids; devising their own creative ways to spend their free time. Kids are so used to being busy, when they do have down time there is a tendency to plug in (to a device) instead of unplug. Imagination is what truly leads people to success, it is how humans innovate. Give kids at least one free day (no schedule at all) per week to imagine and play (take away phones and electronics).
Developing your passion takes time and dedication. Time to learn, time to practice, time to experiment and time to rest. When your schedule is full of one activity to the next, it is very difficult to focus on, or even discover, your passion. Passion is not just something you are good at doing, it is something you truly love doing (whether or not you are actually good at it). Teach your kids to pursue passion over busy by being the example. Do you give yourself time to develop your own passion? Do you even know what it is? Leading by example is a powerful teacher, because how you invest your time influences your children (and they are watching).
5. REST & RELAXATION:
How do your kids spend their downtime? How much downtime to they have? Rest and relaxation is not falling asleep the minute your head hits the pillow. We each need time for doing a whole lot of nothing much. To read a book, spend time in nature, take a walk, hang out with our pets, or just play. No purpose, no goals, no plans, no reason other than to relax, unwind and recharge. The practice of rest and relaxation is devalued and dismissed these days. Making this a priority teaches kids to put their well-being first. When you go and go and go and go without taking time to not go; you burn out one way or another. This is a matter of self-care, but the business of busy-ness does not teach kids this at all. Make sure your kids have time every single day for relaxation (yes, every day). Make sure you have time every single day for rest and relaxation (your kids are watching and learning from you).