Balancing Busy with Bored

Written by Janet Denison
Published on September 17, 2019

Why are so many movies remakes these days? 

What are the J. K. Rowling-like books of your child’s generation? 

When is the last time you saw your son or daughter fully absorbed in a book or art project instead of a screen? 

Does your child have a vivid imagination? Do your kids dream of who and what they want to be when they are grown—or will they take a test that tells them what they should become?

Five ways your child’s life is different 

How often is your child bored, with nothing to do? 

According to an article in Business Insider, probably not often enough. 

The article discussed five ways kids spend time differently today than in the past and how these trends affect kids later in life. 

These are the five changes the article listed: 

  1. Kids have less free time.

    Kids today have far more structured time and far less downtime. If there is usually someone telling your child what to do, will your child think about what they want to do, how to do it, when to do it, and with whom they want to do it? Will they learn to think for themselves?
  2. Screen time has risen dramatically.

    According to a BBC report, screen time has more than doubled for most kids, to more than six hours a day.
  3. Kids don’t spend much time outside.

    Ninety-six percent of parents surveyed thought it was important for their children to experience nature, but their kids spend half the amount of time outside than their parents did. There are actually Vitamin D-related deficiencies in a lot of our kids.
  4. Kids are getting less sleep.

    Seventy-two percent of high school students don’t get enough sleep. A lot of younger children are coming in late from activities with homework to finish.
  5. They are doing a lot more homework.

    Your kids probably have twice as much homework as you had.

The end result of all of the above is that our kids are less creative and less able to think for themselves. 

So, what’s the good news? 

You have every right to raise your kids differently. 

You have a loving Father in heaven who is the only perfect parent. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit who already knows the perfect plan God has for your child’s life. And you have the God-given right to choose what is his best for your kids. 

If you take a long, hard look at your child’s life, are you happy with their free time and how they spend that time? 

Do their imaginations amaze you? 

Are you happy with your priorities? 

You can be. You have every right to raise your kids differently. 

Biblical success 

After surveying one thousand parents, “the study found that 85% of the parents believe scheduled activities like sports and clubs lead to greater success in life. Additionally, 72% of the respondents felt their kids had less free and unstructured time as compared to their own childhoods.” 

How do you, as a Christian parent, define success? 

Are you looking around for that answer—or looking to God? 

What if the road to success can only be truly found by the person who follows God? 

Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Biblical success is different from the world’s definitions. 

Do you compare grades, appearance, popularity, and trophies, or do you compare character, happiness, and a sense of well-being with God and others? 

Are you prouder of a stressed-out achiever or a happy, kind, average kid? 

Your goals for your children will govern your choices. 

Is success measured by a person’s life or a person’s soul? 

A prediction 

Thirty years from now, who will Business Insider list as the “rising stars” in the business world? 

Interestingly, leaders have almost always been innovative thinkers. 

Paul said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

Maybe the road to success is more about what and how our kids think than what they do. 

I predict that the most successful people twenty or thirty years from now will be those who have the ability to think creatively and for themselves. 

You have every right to parent toward God’s goals. Your family might be different, but your family might know great success, otherwise known as great blessing. You have every right to have that kind of family.

Live perfectly imperfect

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Janet Denison

Janet Denison teaches others to live an authentic faith through her writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. She blogs weekly at JanetDenison.org and often at ChristianParenting.org.

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