What is our hurried lifestyle doing to our kids?

It’s obvious that the pace of life is getting faster and faster.  All you have to do is get on the highway to figure out that a lot of people are willing to risk life and limb just to save a few precious seconds.

Everybody’s in a hurry, and everybody is multi-tasking today. Again, look at the highway. How many different things do we attempt to do while driving just to save time or multiuse time? Besides listening to the radio and carrying on conversations, we talk on the phone, send text messages, check our email, read and post to facebook. And I’m just talking about me. (I have made serious improvements in this area.) I even use driving to study my teaching notes. Steering wheel in one hand, notes in the other. We are so much in a hurry and always multitasking.

A USA Today article said, “Today people are souped-up, stressed-out, and overscheduled.  In this brave new world boundaries between work and family are disappearing.  Everyone is mobile and every moment of the day is scheduled with daycare, school, after school activities and ten to twelve hour work days.  This pressure cooker lifestyle is so real that anthropologists are now studying it to see how it will affect us.”

Let me tell you one huge and tragic effect of our hurried lifestyles that we live today–it is damaging our children in ways we don’t even imagine.  In Fast Company magazine there was an article about the spillover effect.  When parents feel stressed out at work it hurts their children.  Their parenting suffers and their children suffer.  Nowhere is this connection between parents and children more achingly graphic than in one simple question that was posed to kids.  The magazine asked kids, “If you were granted your one wish to change one thing about your mom or your dad and their work what would that wish be?”  Parents were then asked to predict how their children would respond to that question.  Most of the parents got it wrong.  In fact 98% of the parents got it wrong.  Nearly 56% percent of parents assumed that their child’s top choice would be to spend more time together.  But in fact only 10% of the kids surveyed said they’d like more time with their mothers and only 15½ % said the same thing about their fathers. 

By contrast 34% of kids said what they wanted most for their parents is to be less stressed and less tired because of their work.  “I wish Mom wasn’t so tired all the time…  I wish Dad wasn’t so tired all the time…” Astonishingly just 2% of parents guessed that this would be their children’s highest priority.  I say astonishing because stress and fatigue are familiar experiences to every working parent.  What parents seem to be unaware of (or in denial about) is the effect that their pressured lives are having on their children.

If we don’t slow down our lifestyle and make some changes by choice, circumstances will force us to eventually.  Count on it.  Circumstances will eventually force us to slow down our life because of health, family crisis or some other situation. It is much wiser and easier to deal with when we choose to make changes rather than be forced to.

What are you waiting for?

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