Living to the fullest or overfilling your life?

I was directed to a blog by a friend via facebook.  They are giving away a book called “Not So Fast” and to enter you have to leave a comment (done), post on your facebook (done), and post on your blog (almost done).
Here is the link to the site: Walk Slowly, Live Wildly “Not So Fast” Giveaway

If you follow my blog, you know that I haven’t posted in nearly 20 days.  Why?  Not sure…I just haven’t had anything to write about.  Until today.

I promised (kinda) a blog about my friend Amanda and was intending to do that last Thursday, April 22 for her birthday.  I’ve discovered I’m not ready to go there.  I have a book that I bought for her son, Alastair, in the days following Amanda’s death and I have planned on writing in the cover to him about his mom.  I’ve started that letter a million times in my head, but have yet to put a single word on paper.  I’m hoping to do it by Mother’s Day (yes, I know…that is close).  If I can do it, I’ll share excerpts of it here.

For today, I want to write about overscheduled kids.  Now, I can honestly say that I was NOT an overscheduled kid.  (My definition of overscheduled does not include regular church meetings or even church choir.  Those are connected to God and I feel that they are most important.  I’m talking about the other stuff.)  I was at church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.  And I had choir on Sunday afternoon.  I did miss the sermon once a year for cheering competition (we left after communion) and I did miss church after my junior and senior prom.  I’m sure I missed other times too, but it was rare.  I even went to church the morning after prom my sophomore year even though I didn’t get home until 6 a.m.  I missed Sunday School, but I was in a pew at 11:00.  Why? To prove I could do it.  Me and my “miss perfect” self didn’t understand why the older kids always missed church the day after prom.  I’d go on and on to my mom about how awful I thought that was.  So – on the day of my first prom (10th grade) mom reminded me of my griping and asked if I was going to be “one of those” kids.  I said no – and dragged myself to church the next day.  I sat in church that day and prayed to God to forgive my judgemental attitude.  I proceeded to sleep through church the two following years (sorry, God, I did go Sunday night, though).

Oh yes…overscheduled kids…

I have a hard time with kids missing out on youth activities because they play a different sport every season and have so many extracurriculars that they can’t darken the church doors outside of Sunday morning (unless there is a soccer game).  I think this is why youth groups currently struggle…everyone is so busy practicing and playing in other areas that they don’t have time for Sunday night or Wednesday night youth group.

I also think it is crazy that so many parents and kids are eating in their cars nearly every night because they are shuttling between school/work/practice/etc to another practice.  Kids struggle to get homework done because that isn’t part of their daily afterschool schedule.  I’ve even heard parents say to the preacher on Sunday morning, “Little Joe isn’t here today because he has a big project due this week and this morning is the only time he had to work on it.”  Why?  He has sports stuff all day Saturday and then maybe even a date Saturday night.  What is happening Sunday afternoon?  Oh, a friend’s birthday party?  So his spiritual feeding was the only thing that could be sacrificed?

I know – I’m ranting.  Please refer me back to this page before I enroll Ella in anything.  Eating my words my be a good lesson, but this is one lesson I want to learn from others and avoid for Ella.  For now, we’re happy with a few relaxing playdates a week (most are free of charge and we pack a lunch).  Nope – I don’t do Romp N Roll or other toddler classes.  I can’t rationalize spending the money on those things…what if we’re having an off day and don’t feel like going?  I know people who do, and I promise I’m not judging you.  I learned that lesson at 16 with that prom weekend.

We do have a time reserved on Monday for me to attend Bible Study (they have cheap childcare with two excellent ladies).  But since Wednesday night church bumps up to bedtime, this is my additional study time.  Once Ella is old enough not to crash at night church, we’ll be there.

I am guilty of the overscheduled adult life.  I’ll admit that here and now.  We used to have plans every Friday night, daytime Saturday, Saturday night, going out to lunch after church on Sunday and occasionally getting together with friends on Sunday night.  By the time Monday morning rolled around we were exhausted and heading off to work.

Then came Ella…
Now I love to get up on Saturday morning and chill out (some weeks I go to yardsales)…then it is home for lunch and naptime.  Once she’s up from nap, Jeff usually comes up with a great family activity – the zoo, Lewis Ginter, Bryan Park, etc – and we head out to play together.
That one afternoon nap is a beautiful thing.  It forces us to be home for 3-4 hours in the afternoon every day.  I read, play on the computer, clean, or (very rarely) sleep.  Somedays we go no where – and stay in jammies all day long.
I hope I can keep us from the overscheduled life.  I don’t want to look back and wondered what happened to my time with Ella.

Thanks, Laura, for directing me to “Walk Slowly, Live Wildly“.  I’m going to keep finding inspiration there.

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