When Did "Busy" Become The Goal?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a great question to ask kids. “Astronaut,” “President of the United States,” “Prima Ballerina,” “Firefighter.” I love seeing how these little people are such big dreamers.
But we quickly forget that as much as kids are dreamers, they are also imitators. Watching their parents and the adults in their lives, they soak up ideas and words and actions like sponges. What if the next time you ask a kindergartner what they want to be when they grow up, the response is, “Busy. I want to be busy. Just like you.”
In an article for The Huffington Post, Scott Dannemiller writes,
“Here’s the thing. I wear busyness like a badge of honor. Only there’s no honor to be had. Busy is a sickness.”
Dannemiller cuts to the heart of all of our busyness and reveals the dependency we have upon this word:
“The implication is that if I am not busy doing something, I am somehow less than. Not worthy. Or at least worth less than those who are producing something.”
Do we really think that we can live our lives without saying no to things, without cutting out the clutter of appointments and extra activities, and there won’t be an consequences? There won’t be a whole generation that believes that the dream is a busy life, not a good life?
Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist gives practical steps for becoming "unbusy." In fact, the internet is blowing up with articles about decreasing activity and increasing rest.
But, at the end of the day, slowing down is hard. It is a choice. It takes a great amount of courage to live slowly and thoughtfully in a world run at the pace it takes to Google something (that's like 0.67 seconds). But when our courage is running out, and it feels easier to join in on the busy instead of intentionally pursuing the good, we should give a thought for the next generation. We should consider whether we want them to have lives defined by busyness or thoughtfulness. What kind of example are we setting?