Family Works: Speaking on busyness
by By ROB COOMBS ID. Min. Ph.D.
Dec 01, 2013 | 902 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I think of peace, I can’t help but remember my childhood in the ’60s — images of hippies with long, unwashed hair, tattered clothing, necklaces with peace symbols dangling around their neck, micro-buses with flowers and anti-war messages graphically painted from bumper to bumper, smoking marijuana, refusing to work.

Now in the new millennium, the unique days of that decade are a distant memory. Even the most radical members of the hippie movement have turned in their anti-establishment garb for business suits and swivel chairs in swanky offices. We no longer have large demonstrations for peace. There really is no time. We are much too busy.

Today we are a little suspicious of people who aren’t as busy as we are, who have time to watch flowers grow and lazily watch the sunset in the evening. In a society that is more accustomed to the siren than the serene, we seem uncomfortable when people are “out of it.”

We want them “in it” with us, sharing our stress addiction by yelling, rushing, doing, scheduling and otherwise frantically searching for whatever “it” is. We really have made a god out of busyness. Staying busy or at least appearing to be busy has become all important. Why? Because we have come to believe that somehow we are more important the busier we stay — that our status and self-esteem are directly related to how busy we are.

We have lost our tolerance for doing nothing. Some of us may even feel guilty for spending an evening watching a fire burn in the fireplace, an afternoon biking to the lake, or talking away a morning over breakfast with an old friend.

“We really shouldn’t be doing those things,” we tell ourselves. “There are more important things to attend to.” In fact, we want to know what is wrong with someone who is “just sitting there and doing nothing.” We find ourselves asking questions like, “Is he sick?” Or making statements like, “She must be depressed.”

Busyness has been so closely linked with success that we are fearful that our children will not be successful unless they, too, stay busy. I have known many children who live frantic lives running from one sporting event to another, attending meetings at church, Scouts, and clubs, while attempting to squeeze in time in-between doing homework. Because they are constantly “on the go,” there is no time to pick dandelions, climb a tree or chase a butterfly. Rather, their lives become a mirrored reflection of Mom’s and Dad’s. No wonder so many children feel constant stress.

The answer is probably not in leaving your job, buying a micro-bus and peace necklaces. Rather, refuse to accept the notion that somehow your worth is reflected by your busyness. Work hard, than play easy.

Such a balance will bring increased satisfaction to both work and play. The overall quality of your life will soar and your children will learn the invaluable lesson that life is more than busyness.