“I’m just too busy.”
We’ve all said those words at one time or another. Our God-established 24-hour time frame just never seems to be long enough to get it all in, to get it all done. Too often, we find ourselves the stars of our vaudeville act where we’re trying to keep all the plates spinning so that none fall or keep all the balls in the air as we attempt to juggle more and more. The result is usually disastrous.
Assessing the Situation
Let me challenge you to slow down long enough to ask yourself a few questions:
- What, exactly, are you ‘too busy’ for?
- What are the things that are neglected because of busyness?
- What relationships slip silently away as a consequence of being too busy?
The answer to all of the above? Our children. Too often, the pressures of providing for our families’ physical/financial needs hinder us from meeting their emotional needs. Research has proven that symptoms of depression can be observed in children as early as the first few months of life. What is the root of this depression? Abnormal separation from their mother. (Counseling the Depressed, A. Hart) According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America, 1 in 20 children (5%) were found to have anxiety or depression in 2020. Of the five identified causes of childhood depression, three were directly related to an unhealthy home environment – stressful events/changes at home, chaotic/unpredictable family relationships, and family history.
Our children need to know they are loved, safe, and secure. God, the perfect Father, has innately given the need for affirmation.
Learn More on parental affirmation here.
As parents, if we don’t recognize and make adjustments in our busyness to carve out time to meet the emotional needs of our children, the results can be disastrous, not just for our children but for ourselves as well.
Remember the 70’s folk song “The Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin? It’s the heartbreaking story of a new father with a brand-new baby boy. Although this father heard and understood the cry for attention from his son as he grew, the dad always found himself too busy to spend time with his son. There were “planes to catch, and bills to pay… and his son “learned to walk while (he) was away.” “When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when. But we’ll get together then….”
The boy’s admiration for his father is evident throughout the storyline, as is his desire to spend some quality time with him. “I’m gonna be like him,” claims the boy as his hero walks away. By the end of the song, the son is grown, and an elderly, lonely father desires nothing more in life than to spend some quality time with his son. Read the last verse of the song:
I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I can find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
Songwriters: Sandy Chapin / Harry F. Chapin
Cat’s in the Cradle lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc
Let this be a warning to those who still have time to make the necessary changes to be there for their kids. And for those who may think that it’s too late with their children, rest in the truth that comes down from the Father in heaven: confess and repent… then pick up the phone!