hyper-scheduling your kids

Do you live life where every minute of every day is accounted for? Where often you’re double booked, you have back to back commitments, and you rush from one thing to the next? The phenomenon is known as hyper-scheduling. And there’s lots of talk about it – the effect it has on us; the effect it has on our kids. Google it.

My dreams or their dreams?

As a parent, it’s difficult not to impose on my children the hopes and dreams I have for them – as if somehow my control over their lives now, will dictate the outcome for them when I no longer have control over their lives. I want them to be successful, I want them to get a good education, a good job, be happy and healthy… and somehow filling their lives with academic excellence, sporting prowess, musical ability, and any number of extra-curricular activities will ensure that… because these are all the things that I, as a parent, want for them.

I recently had a conversation with someone – early on in their kids lives, they as parents had made the call that the most important goal they had for their kids was the hope that they would have a relationship with Jesus. And in order to do that, they cut all the extra stuff their kids were involved in right back… they removed the hyper-scheduling from their lives. Because, you see, it’s hard to form and maintain a relationship with someone when you’ve filled your life with so many other things.

It’s hard to motivate your kids to go to church, or read their bible, or engage in youth group, when they’re exhausted from their week of sports training, music practice, and academic learning.

But it’s not just your children’s relationship with God that suffers. As a devoted parent, you want to attend their piano recital, you want to spur them on from the sidelines, you need to transport them to and from their commitments… our kid’s hyper-scheduling often leads to our own hyper-scheduling. And it’s hard to maintain a relationship with God when you’ve filled your life with so many other things.

In Matthew 6:24, it says this:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

And while Jesus is specifically talking about attention being divided by money, it holds true for the other idols in our lives.

Are you too busy for obedience?

In the short video by Crossway called “Are you too busy for obedience?” Rosaria Butterfield puts it like this:

“but really, no child needs to be in four sports… some of what we do is exhausting. We’re exhausted, our children are exhausted… but realise that if you are too functional, if you are too hyper-scheduled, you are no good to Christian folks… and that might include the people you’re running all over town right now; namely your kids”

What is the long-term effect of hyper-scheduling our children?

What is it saying of where their focus should be if we place so much importance on their success in [insert extra-curricular activity here]? And what does it say about how much we trust what God has planned for them, if we fill their lives with the things we value?

The cost of saying no

I used to work with a man, and he tells the story of how when he was a teen, he had to give up his sport of choice because they started playing their games on Sundays, and his parents said his relationship with God, and fellowship at church, was more important. What are we, as parents today, prepared to give up on behalf of our children, to show them that a relationship with God is the most important hope we have for them?

It is costly to say they can’t play a game with their team because it means they miss Church. But what does it say to them, and their peers when you put their Christian upbringing before their sporting prowess? It says that the greatest hope you have for them is that they have a relationship with God.

Of obedience to God, Rosaria Butterfield also says:

“God gives you a command, he has already given you the grace to perform it, figure out what needs to go”

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