Kids today are busy. Not just “I need to run from class to practice” busy, but the kind of busy that used to be reserved for high powered executives. I have teen after teen tell me of regularly living on three to four hours sleep a night. After all of their activities and classes, the remainder of their time is spent doing homework – leaving little time for anything other than catching a couple of hours of sleep. Even the youngest of children have similar schedules.
We wonder why so many young people either don’t believe in God or aren’t totally sure they buy into the whole “God thing”! Perhaps it is because they don’t have any time in their lives to think, much less the kind of thinking required to make decisions about God.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV) God knows we need quiet time to think if we are to know He is God. Otherwise He would have counseled “Run around like crazy. Fill every minute of every day with activities and know that I am God.” But, He didn’t.
For our children to truly know God in every sense of the word, we have to give them time to be quiet. And I don’t mean quietly watching tv or playing games or texting. I mean having nothing to do but sit on a branch of a tree or lie on a blanket watching the clouds or stars.
Give your children mindless chores indoors and out. After they have mastered the skill, it’s amazing how much thinking they will do while vacuuming or pulling weeds. Take long walks or hikes. Talk for part of the time, but allow some of the time to be totally quiet. Take your kids fishing. Fishing is great because you have to be quiet, it’s outdoors and it’s the type of peaceful that can lead to thinking deep thoughts.
When the busy days of fall are approaching, rethink your child’s schedule. Take some things out of it entirely. You may be surprised to find colleges want essays written by thoughtful students as much or more than a student with a resume filled with busyness.
Give your kids lots of time to be still. They need it to see God, to think about the things they have been taught about Him and to ponder what that belief means for their lives. Who knows, you might find you enjoy a little more margin in your lives after all. It may also produce a faith in you and your family for which you have always longed.