If you’re a parent, I would venture to say you spend a lot of time helping your children explore their interests, find their passions, make friends, and grow in their abilities. Outside a typical school day, you cart them to swim and music lessons, sports trainings and games, tutoring.
You make sure they don’t miss the party invite (what if they don’t get invited again or are left out on the playground at school?)! We only have Wednesday afternoons free and the school just opened up a term of Oztag… perfect! Sign us up! Wait… what’s Oztag?
My own daughter tried ballet, hip hop, gymnastics (at two different gyms) before we realised her passion was music and art. She now also plays netball for both her school and club.
How do we, as parents fit it all in? What’s the motivation for all this, (shall I daresay “over-scheduling”)? We tell ourselves we want what’s best for them. Some of us believe our kids are stars and in order to get ahead, they must perfect their trade. We must set them up for success. And… Kids are demanding at times. They tell us what they want to do and we jump through every hoop to make it happen. I mean, how guilty would we feel if right down our very own hallway slept the next Mozart and we didn’t pay for that extra term of piano lessons?
We live in crazy times! All this taxiing our children to and fro. Then, what’s left of us, these devoted, well-intentioned grown-ups?
Soul weary, budget busted, time strapped adults whose sleep patterns are poor and marriages are weak.
In the pursuit of fostering well-rounded, talented, happy children who have friends and self-confidence, we can lose our own souls. What happened to regular date nights? Adult friends who party with us while the children go to bed?
What are MY interests?
Didn’t I have hobbies once upon a time?
Where are friends who make me laugh, those who spur me on towards becoming my best self?
All of our choices come at a cost. This over-scheduling and saying “yes” to the aforementioned litany of options means saying “no” to other things. Unfortunately, those “other things” can be the very ones which sustain our souls. The fun. Spiritual growth. Marriage. Small group at church. Rest.
Let’s don’t mistake “good parenting” for soul-trading.
Kids need parents who love each other and they need to see us taking care of ourselves, embracing a hobby, setting boundaries, living within our means. The lessons WE teach through lives devoted to Jesus, the church, our marriages, and sabbath rest far outweigh any weekly half hour lesson you could pay for with someone else in charge.
“What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for” (Mark 8:36 MSG).