These days life is very busy. The problem (so I’m discovering) is once I get some momentum going, I have a hard time slowing down. I just keep hitting the throttle.
It was my 6 year old who knew enough to slam on the brakes.
It was Friday night at dinner and I had been enthusiastically telling her our plans for Saturday, when she suddenly burst into tears. “I thought tomorrow was a staying at home day. I just want our family to stay at home,” she sobbed.
School, work, after-hours work commitments, after-school sports and activities, classmate birthday parties, school special events...in our attempt to offer our children rich, full lives, are we overlooking what they really and truly want more than anything else: time together – simple, unscheduled time?
Upon returning to Bloom after Hurricane Sandy, I asked parents how they fared in the storm. Not one, not two, but many parents told me (given the good fortune of the storm not hitting us too hard here) it was really nice to have that time at home with their children. They were all given the chance to just be together, at home – no school, no work, no sports, no social commitments. It was a gift, even without electricity.
How we can create that “free” time within our daily or weekly home life rhythms? I certainly don’t have all the answers, but perhaps it means not attending every birthday party to which our children are invited. Perhaps it means picking and choosing which school events to attend (especially if your family is committed to more than one school). Perhaps it means forgoing certain lessons or classes for awhile.
Maybe not having plans has to be your plan. Start with a few hours a week (Sunday afternoons perhaps?) then maybe work your way up to the whole day. It may be a bit awkward to to tell people that you aren’t available because you have plans to do nothing, but if they question it I welcome you to quote one of my favorite philosophers, Ferris Bueller:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.”