Back to School Busyness
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Fern Nichols and Dennis and Barbara Rainey help parents evaluate their kids’ level of busyness and consider the priority of family time.
Bob: —because she wasn’t getting enough sleep; because she was running from one place to the next. We had to try and lasso some of that back in while she was off in the middle of it.
How do you, as a parent, manage that for your child when your child is off in a world of his or her own?
Barbara: Well, you may have to make some decisions that are going to be hard to make. If your child is overcommitted like Amy was, and like our kids have been, you’ve got to look where they are and decide: “How can you begin to pull them back?” “Where can we cut back?”
The other thing that we’ve done, as a family, that’s been really helpful is we have worked hard to observe the Sabbath. That means we take Sunday as a day of rest. That is hard to do with teenagers; but we’ve worked real hard to keep that as a priority in our family so that our kids have a day—where they really can let down and rest, where they are not working, they are not going to activities, they are not doing stuff—they are home.
Dennis: You know, a lot of our listeners haven’t read this commandment in a long time. I just want to read it in Exodus 20, verses 8-11. I want you to listen, because it’s directed to the family: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
You’ve got to believe it’s important if He took the time to make it one of the ten/of the Ten Commandments.
Bob: Yes; part of the issue with busyness, Dennis, is learning to prioritize and determine what is important and what can be cut away.
Dennis: You are really getting at a point, Bob, where young people today are not skilled; and that is, they do not know how to make good biblical decisions. Children today have to be taught in decision-making. Right now, Barbara has been after me, as a result some of our Sunday night dates, that we’ve had to sit down with our girls—who are all teenagers—and to help them go through the process of how you make a good decision.
Now, you think about this—you think, “Well, every young person ought to know how to make a good decision,”—really? If so, where do they learn it? And how did they learn it?—“Well, by trial and error.” Well, that may be true; but the Scriptures spell out some very clear prerequisites for good decision-making:
- the Scripture and consulting God are some of the most important;
- counting the cost of what that decision is going to mean in your life;
- and then “How does it fit in with the rest of your priorities?”;
- and “Is it going to damage the things that are most important or contribute to them?”
Barbara: Because if we, as parents, don’t train them to make their decisions based on what’s important, and what their values are/what our values are as a family, then all their decision-making is going to be made based on what their friends are doing: “Because So-and-so is going to go to the movie, so I want to go to the movie,” or “So-and-so is joining this club, so I want to join this club.”
If we don’t train our children to make value-based decisions, then they are just going to make decisions based purely on emotion and purely on the impulsive need of the moment. They’ll become driven and will be so busy that they won’t be able to make wise decisions at any point in their life.
Bob: You know, as we’ve talked about various traps that are set for teenagers, we’ve talked about some that are so obviously dangerous—substance abuse and premarital sex—most parents can look at those and say, “Boy, I want to keep my kids away from that.” When you talk about busyness, though, it’s a little more subtle. Can this trap be as dangerous and destructive as the other traps we’ve talked about?
Dennis: Absolutely; I don’t think it would be one of the Ten Commandments if it wasn’t. When a person gets so busy that they lose any connection to their God, their relationships, and the principles of life that matter most, that’s how you waste a life; and that’s how you make a decision that can be a life-altering decision.
Bob: A child, who doesn’t learn to slow down/doesn’t learn to rest, what is that child going to look like when he’s 35 or 40?
Barbara: Well, he will be lost, more than likely; because he’ll go down one path and pursue that and find out it is a dead end. Then he’ll go down another one and find out it’s a dead end. He’ll be wasting years and years of his life in futility, trying to figure out what makes sense, and not knowing how to make sense of it; because he doesn’t have wisdom to guide him.
Dennis: Again, all these things go back to good decision-making. I can’t tell you how strongly both of us feel about this as we look at some of the peers that our children are in school with in college. I fear we’re raising a generation of young people, who/they are addicted to activity; they are just busy. They don’t know where they are going; their lives aren’t value-driven in the truest sense of that word.
Man, what is going to happen when they establish their own homes? They are destined to fail; because they are not connected to God, to the Scriptures, to the things that ultimately give us the conviction to withstand the storms of life. Those young people are going to be conformed to the world, and you’re going to see the ruin that surrounds their lives.
Michelle: Dennis and Barbara Rainey with a word to the wise: “Take some time to slow down.” I would even suggest that, if you are a parent, maybe, take a few minutes this weekend—sit down with your kids and take an inventory of your life—maybe, you need to slow down somewhere.
Hey, coming up next week, we are going to talk about pastors; because October is Pastor Appreciation Month. We’re going to hear from Paul David Tripp. I always enjoy hearing from him. We’re also going to give you some hints on how to appreciate your pastor.
Hey, I want to thank the co-founder of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and our president David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. And a big “Thank you!” to our engineer today Keith Lynch, whose busyness with his children has now slowed down. Thanks to our busy dads, Marques Holt and Bruce Goff; they are our producers today. Justin Adams is a busy swim coach and our mastering engineer; and our soon-to-be soccer mom, Megan Martin, is our production coordinator.
Our program is a production of FamilyLife Today, and our mission is to effectively develop godly families who change the world one home at a time.
I’m Michelle Hill, inviting you to join us again next time for another edition of FamilyLife This Week.
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