We are in full swing into the new school year with classes starting and sports and activities filling our afternoon schedules. It is a bustling lifestyle and one which my kids seem to enjoy. They love taekwondo and the discipline and focus it demands. They greatly enjoy soccer and the chance to run around with their teammates in the fresh fall air. They don’t like piano, but they are doing it anyway. Mom’s request. Learning a musical instrument is a lifelong skill and a gift they can pass onto others. Add onto that reading and homework, daily piano practice, at-home FIRE catechesis on the weekends, and we are busy little family. (Don’t remind me that these activities only involve 2/5 of my children. I am fearing the day we are all in motion!)
If we’re not careful, though, this busyness can become addictive to the point of over-scheduling. Just last week the older boys came running home, telling me of some new after-school programs held on Tuesday afternoons. My oldest wanted to do a Lego-building class and my kindergartner, a football clinic. I hesitated knowing Tuesday afternoons were already quite crammed in our line-up of activities, but I could see their excitement and knew they were eager. We sat down and looked at the calendar, talked it through with Daddy, and allowed them to sign up, knowing some of our activities quiet during that season. It is definitely proving to be a challenge to maintain a balance and it’s only going to get worse.
Even yesterday as we readied to head out the door from piano lessons to taekwondo, the boys looked at me with pleading eyes and asked to go outside and play with the neighborhood kids. It was a beautiful afternoon and I could tell they needed free time. Yes. They could go. And we all breathed a little sigh of relief, I know. Time to breathe. Time to drink in the afternoon. Time to be.Back in college, I remember a classmate’s mother constantly reminding him to “Be” and not always “Do”. Such genius. Up until that time, I don’t think I recognized how little I allowed myself to just “be”–to think, feel, pray, quiet. I was guilty of this as a youth, so its not surprising I’m having to hold back again as a mom. Beyond kids’ activities, I’ve packed my day with errands and home-maintenance, laundry tasks and feeding children. Am I also taking enough time to” be” or always plunging into the next thing? St. Matthew writes of this:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Perhaps as we entrench ourselves in the new academic year, we also need to carve out precious time to sit on the porch and enjoy the fall weather; to pray peacefully in the stillness of the morning; to think and ponder without the nearest hand-held device to occupy our minds, hands, and time. For our world is one that is constantly in motion, but we need to be warriors for peace; warriors that “be”. And not only that, we need teach our children how important rest time is in the balanced equation of life.