it's summer: get moving
Summer staff at Camp Mush-A-Mush leading by example!
It’s been hot, and so everything seems to be moving at a slower space. But experts say the best time to get outside these days is at night – just when your kids are coming home from camp. A new study, this week, found that kids who watch more TV than average also have larger waist size, so that’s another reason to turn off the tube and play some games or go for a swim with them. (Or perhaps encourage the kids to organize a game after church among themselves.) Many of our youth are enjoying the gift of summer week-long camp at our Eastern Synod Camps: Edgewood, Lutherlyn, and Mush. Recently, I spent some time with staff from Edgewood and Mush and learned about some of the exciting and meaningful activities our youth are experiencing this year. There is not much lying around happening at our Eastern Synod camps. In the end, those are the summer memories our youth will remember. To say nothing of the positive mental benefits of exercise. Here’s the research if you would like to check it out.
Take a Chill Pill, Mom and Dad
It’s the second week since school went out, (and for many families what therefore feels like the beginning of the summer), and consider this question: What have you done with your time? Apparently, what our kids most want – as some experts are suggesting – is not more summer camps, and schedules activities. They want the adults around them to just rest easy for a while. I think we often forget how much our running around, which seems important at the time, impacts our kids, and their own sense of how life is meant to be lived. A Globe article a few days ago gave some advice for parents, that might resonate and help families decide what they want the mood of their summer to be.
The over-arching message of the gospel is to live intentionally. And while a big part of that means serving others, it also means slowing down and being aware of the people around you. To do that, every member of the family needs to put their feet up once in a while. And we shouldn’t need our kids to remind us to do it with them.
Here’s the Globe acticle if you want to take a look: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/why-parents-should-add-relax-to-their-to-do-list/article4393308/
I blogged recently on how we practice business for the sake of busy, and how very often it feels like we lack intention in what we do. We don’t take the time to reflect on why we don’t invite people to church and a whole host of other things that get lost in the rat-race we call life. There’s a reason why Jesus, was firm about getting away from it all and getting rest. How can we find focus if we don’t take the time to plan our day? And I don’t mean making a list of who needs driving where, and what has to be picked up at the grocery store. I mean thinking about what we want our day to be, how we want to be present in the world, how we will contribute. A recent interview of Joshua Foer, an American author and journalist, on the Happiness Project website, highlighted this: he talks about how after years of not paying much attention to it, he has become very deliberate about how he observes the Sabbath. “For 25 hours each week, everything gets turned off,” he says. “No email. No phone. I don’t make anything. I don’t destroy anything. No matter how much stress I have in my life, it all evaporates on Friday night.” There’s a reason why God commanded us to keep one day Holy, a time to rest, a time for contemplation. We have gotten away from that – for many of us the most contemplation happens on Sunday morning. (And then I suspect more than a few parishioners are still thinking about the work they have ahead of them.) It’s the summer, when we might have more time to observe these necessary rest periods in life. Just pause. You never know what you might see that you never noticed before.
If you want to read more about Josh Foer’s interview, or just check our the Happiness Project Blog, click here: http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2012/07/for-25-hours-each-week-no-email-no-phone-i-dont-make-anything/
BUSY BEING FULLFILLED?
Busy is the new buzz word. Sometimes it feels like being busy isn’t enough on it’s own: it’s all about who seems busier (as opposed to who actually is busier) than the next person. Now, I know, we are all pretty busy: as a parent, I know I devote far more time driving my kids here and there and back again than my parents every did. As my family points out, I am endlessly checking my iphone even when I am supposed to be relaxing. And new research suggests that many of us rarely leave our work in the office (and some of us have even abandoned the notion of vacations entirely.) Our kids live in the same world: between homework and extra-curricular activities, they are busy, busy, busy. In fact, my eldest son recently injured himself playing soccer, forcing the entire family to slow down so he could stay off his feet. Truth be told, the kids seemed much happier for it.
The New York Times recently had a great piece on this called the “The Busy Trap.” Check it out here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/
Perhaps, though, we have mixed up the question: what is all this rushing about getting us? Are we using our time productively? If we are engaged in busy work for the sake of being, well, busy – what’s the point? On the other hand, if our work is to the benefit of someone else, why do we make it all about us? If we are volunteering, if we feel energized by our work, if we are serving a higher good, I expect we wouldn’t call it being busy: we would call it feeling fulfilled. (As in “filled full” of the right activities and life ventures, the kind that serve God, others and (ultimately) ourselves as well.
Something to think about the next time to you feel the need to one-up someone’s “I’m so busy” boast.