Newspaper Writing, Opinion, Sample Work

Limiting the ‘Busy’ in Life

Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 7.35.04 PMPublished February 2014: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Limiting the ‘Busy’ in Life

As parents, we sometimes get so caught up in our children’s lives and our need to please them that we tend to create more havoc for the entire family. Case in point: I have always wanted my children to pursue all of
their dreams, join any activity their little hearts desired and stay busy in hopes that they are fulfilling their passions. I wanted them to have the perfect childhood.

As a result, life got chaotic and less enjoyable for all of us. My daughter wanted to dance, so after years of studio dance she made the high school team and I gave in and allowed her to do both. My son wanted to play football and soccer at the same time.

Our days and nights were filled with drive-thru meals on our way to practices and games and a race to finish homework late at night, followed by cranky mornings packing lunches and running to the bus stop. Quality time did not exist and during that time, we were all lacking sleep, patience and sanity.

I’m a firm believer that my kids should pursue their dreams, but throughout the “busy-ness” I quickly learned that there is no need for them to pursue every single dream at the same time. Thus, we learned to limit ourselves. Even though it broke my heart to see my daughter’s reaction when I told she had to choose between the high school dance team and studio dance, when she soon had time to socialize more with her friends and complete her homework before 11 p.m., I knew it was the right decision.

Instead of jumping in and out of the car for practices every single day, my son now has the opportunity to play basketball in the driveway with the neighborhood kids. We actually eat meals in our kitchen and I don’t feel like I’m living in the car 24/7. We had to make time for ourselves and as a result, we are all much
happier, healthier and a bit more pleasant to be around.

By limiting, I’ve realized that you don’t have to fill every moment of the day with an activity. We need some down time to reflect on our blessings, regroup for the next day and give our time and treasures to others. I’m hopeful that my children don’t look back on their childhood and think “I can’t believe mom wouldn’t let me play both football and soccer,” but instead think about those moments when we had time for each other, laughed at the dinner table and thanked God for our fortunes and abilities to pursue our dreams.

I realize that there is no such thing as a perfect childhood now, but I want my kids to remember theirs as a journey, not a blur.

— Shannon Philpott

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