Our family calendars seem to be full these days. Baseball games, dance recitals, soccer practice, cheer practice – the list goes on and on.

In the modern world we live in, a child's schedule is often packed to the brim with extracurricular activities. Moms are running from one place to another to ensure that every child gets to their destination on time. Dads are trying to make sure that someone is at each place to watch all the children, especially when events are happening at the same time. Today’s dinner table is piled with school folders, lunch boxes, backpacks, and jackets.

There is little downtime, and when it does come, parents and children alike want to fill it up with just one more task in order to ensure that they are not missing out.

But in doing this, are we sacrificing something special? Sacrificing things like family time and the true joys of childhood?

With such full schedules, children really don’t find fulfillment or joy. Instead, they are tired, cranky, and want no part in the preparation for the next week. Like their children, parents are also overwhelmed by the end of the week as they see no rest in sight.

I can certainly relate. As parents, my husband and I thought that participating in all these activities would bring our children more joy, and we overcommitted. If it wasn’t a travel baseball game, it was constant dance competitions.

Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed watching our children grow and excel in these activities. But at the same time, we were all stretched so thin. Any quiet time was filled with chores to keep the week moving.

This life is exhausting for anyone. Our children are taught to cram so much in and live the fast-paced life, when really all they need to do is just be children. Sure, some activity is healthy, but when you ride by the ball fields on a Sunday and see it jampacked with families, it causes a bit of sadness. On Sundays, most families should be sitting in a pew together at church learning and worshiping.

We, like so many others, forgot that our true joy does not come from all the activities life can offer. It comes from God alone.

I pray that this week, you take one thing off your schedule. I pray that your dinner table is filled with a warm meal and family conversation. I pray that you get some rest.

Children are only children for a short period of time, let them be that. Remind them today and every day that this world does not provide pure joy and happiness, only temporary pleasures. Help them seek true joy!

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. She is currently working on an inspirational book of short stories. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email ashley.carter@1819news.com.

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