Ever had the conversation with someone where you ask how they are doing and the response is “I’m great, chilled, relaxed, actually quite rested at the moment. Works going well, no stress, reasonable deadlines, good times.” I haven’t!
I have had the opposite though,where my enquiry seems to be received as an invitation to explain just how busy they are, how full their diary is, how hecticly stressed they are, how the demands on them are crushing the life out of them and then they pause and try to give something that resembles a smile as if to make themselves and others believe, that this busyness is some form of honour, an indication that they have arrived, they’ve reached the pinnacle of what society deems as success. I have arrived!
And yet, we have these Statistics.
44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago;
75% of Dr’s visits are due to stress caused ailments;
Stress shrinks the brain;
25% more likely to have a heart attack; and
50% more likely to have a stroke.
Ironically, I even thought of going to do some work this afternoon, instead of taking time out to write. Something I love, something that inspires and energises me, nearly lost out to something whose only purpose, if I’m honest anyway, is to make money.
Oddly enough, in the US, stress related ailments cost $300 billion in medical bills and lost productivity. I wonder what the loss would be if we simply tried to do our best everyday and left the rest for tomorrow, I’m quite sure the benefits of decreased stress would outweigh the losses due to a naturally lower productivity.
My actual concern and reason for writing today, is how our children are picking up this idea that to be busy, is to be successful. This notion that busyness is next to Godliness appears to permeate our lives and spill over into theirs. To the point where we find children suffering from stress related ailments, anxiety and an inability to sit and just BE.
Our stress filled lives not only hurt us, but they are setting an example to our children. When our children are breaking down in tears because of their work load. Tests, projects, homework, catchup exercises, on the surface great tools to educate, but when they start to create stressed out 10 year olds, can we really defend our goal of better education?
Schools are desperately trying to equip our kids to handle life after school. They are dealing with more information and challenges than ever before, but, does that mean exposing our little ones to levels of stress they were never meant to handle.
Parenting is all about preparing and encouraging your children to go beyond the levels you achieved, to live fuller, more satisfying lives, to continue and improve on your successes and hopefully never repeat your failures. I’m concerned and fighting against the idea that to be busy, stress filled and productive, achieves this goal more successfully than getting down onto their bedroom floors, building lego jets, making puzzles, laughing, loving and being present.
Clearly our choices are not benefitting our health, perhaps the health and well being of our children will be a greater motivator to change the way we live.