01 May Keep Calm and Slow Down – May 13
By Poppy Ivone
Many parents would be familiar with this feeling: some days we just feel like we are about to fizzle and burn out! I have two gorgeous boys, who are angels when they are asleep and little hurricanes when they are not. Between that, school, daycare, work, church ministry and the never-ending house chores, I am feeling quite out of puff lately. My mind is constantly filled with a long to-do list. I feel guilty when I sit down for something pleasurable and get that nagging feeling that I should really be doing something ‘productive’ instead. And because I am often tense, I become snappish and impatient with my family. One night, I went to bed wound up tight, feeling oppressed and joyless. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… I am stressed.
Stress is becoming an ever-increasing problem for families and young children in today’s fast paced society. Youngs (1995) highlights the impact of stress on our lives, stating: ‘Virtually no one feels free from stress these days, not even young people supposedly living “the best years of their lives”.’ Educators everywhere see frustrated and exhausted children on a daily basis. Children are dropped off at daycare/preschool/school and are often collected late by parents who are tired and depleted from a long working day. And guess what awaits the children at home? Yep, you guessed it! More ‘hurry up’s barked by crabby parents like yours truly. Hurried parents produce harried children. Harried children stress their parents even more. It is a sad cycle.
Children need a peaceful household and opportunities for respite from stressful situations. Our home should be that safe, comforting haven that they could retreat to and be refreshed daily. How are we parents to provide this when we are often in dire need of one ourselves? Good question. It is only possible with God! He has given us this wonderful invitation in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We must first find rest in God before we can provide rest for our children.
What kind of message are we inadvertently giving our children right now? I would hate to think it is one of endless hustle and bustle, stress and worries. More importantly, have we shown our children God in the midst of our busy family life? Let us heed the (adapted) words of this popular poster: Keep Calm, Slow Down, Don’t Worry, Don’t Hurry, and Trust in GOD.
May God’s peace that surpasses all understanding be with you!
Thomas, P. (2004). A time to simply ‘be’: Building resilient and happy children through relaxation techniques. Every Child magazine – Diversity, 10(3). Retrieved from: http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/every_child_magazine/every_child_index/every_child_vol_10_no_3_2004.html
3 Main Statements:
- ‘Virtually no one feels free from stress these days, not even young people supposedly living “the best years of their lives”.’
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
- We must first find rest in God before we can provide rest for our children.