Parenting in a Busy World - Helping Our Kids Slow Down
By AJ Hofstetter
We took our daughter through a fun exercise that will hopefully help her understand the importance of stillness in a world that seems to have no problem with keeping us constantly engaged. It’s something we did once but reference often. It goes like this:
- Grab a pitcher of water and a glass.
- Ask your child to fill the glass with water while you hold it.
- Every time water is poured out, move the glass (so that water spills)
*HINT: Don’t do this above important tax documents, kittens, or computers.
- Do this enough times so that you have a mess to clean up (and clean it up together).
The lesson is simple: If you’re never still, you can never be filled.
The more we’re filling our lives with noise, whether that noise is literal or figurative, the more empty we are. The more empty we are, the more difficult it is going to be to find places of silence and rest. It’s in silence and rest that we can let go of anxiety and fear. It’s in silence and rest that we can think clearly and get to know ourselves. And it’s in silence and rest that we can learn to hear still, small voices.
Being Still in a Noisy World
Noise is more than technology, talking, or television. Noise is about busyness. It’s about things demanding our attention and therefore winning our affection. So when we teach our children to be still, we’re doing more than forcing them to ignore their social media profiles or turn off devices.
In 2 Kings 17:15, of the Israelites it is said, “They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves.” God’s people were molded into the image of whatever they fixed their eyes upon.
And so it is with each one of us.
We become whatever we worship…whatever has our attention.
Ultimately, if we’re never quiet, unplugged, or still, it’s safe to say that it will be hard to teach it to our kids. We have more things demanding our attention than perhaps any other time in human history. We’re moving at lightning speeds and yet somehow feeling like we’re getting less accomplished. The busyness in our culture feels like it’s moved into our DNA. There’s no time to slow down. And it’s too uncomfortable to be quiet. We’re always moving, always surrounding ourselves with noise, always plugged in.
It’s up to us to help our kids see that if they can’t be still - if they can’t unplug, be comfortable in silence, fast from noise - they’ll never be filled.
And if they can’t be filled, they’ll always be empty.
The digital world, with all of its advances and benefits, adds an entirely new level of busyness to our lives. It’s constant availability. It’s constant demands. On Monday, October 28th, at 7 pm, we will be showing the documentary, “LIKE,” in our gymnasium. The movie explores the implications of social media and technology addiction on our youth. The evening will give us a chance to watch the film and then engage in a discussion about what we can do as parents, educators, mentors, and advocates, to help students learn the beauty of a life that’s less plugged in. Find out more HERE.