J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Lonely Child Prodigies

child_prodigy_359605Busyness.  For most families, that is the central description of their lives: school, ballet, baseball, piano lessons, youth group, and the list goes on and on.  Often times, parents will tell me that they live a life with a breakneck pace because it will benefit the child in the future.  As one parent told me, “Busy kids are successful kids.”

Typically, the idea is that heavy involvement in sports, the community, church, and school will enable the child to get into a good college, get a good job, and earn a good living.  That is one possible outcome from such a life, but it is definitively not a guaranteed one.  There are other possible alternative outcomes.  As Reggie Joiner says in his great book, “Think Orange”

“Families run the risk of becoming relationally poor in the pursuit of becoming experientially rich.”

This is one of the options of the overly busy life of children.  Again, some folks make it work.  They are high energy, high involvement families, and they are able to do this while maintaining intimacy in relationships with each other and with God.  But I imagine fewer do well at it than they think as evidenced by the estranged families and mass exodus of adults in their 20’s from the church.

I know families who march all day shuttling from one event to the next who rarely get spontaneous fun time or relaxed dinner time.  The parents are high achievers, and the children will probably walk into college with full scholarships.  They serve in lots of capacities including their church, but their family unit lacks a true passion or intimacy.

Now, this is not an easy road to navigate.  Determining which activities are beneficial for children and parents alike is not easy especially if the primary goal is intimacy with Christ.  Losing out on the top tiered college you want for your child to go to though seems a small price compared to losing intimacy with your child and intimacy with Christ.

In this area, in this day and time, there is no template for families.  There is no universal law to lay down like, “Each child should only do 2 extracurricular activities.”  Families have to figure this out for themselves.  However, praying and scriptural guidance should rule the day in determining a family’s schedule.  If intimacy with each other and intimacy with Christ is being sacrificed for creating high achieving children, a change of schedule, no matter how hard it may be, needs to take place.

The article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner.

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October 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Amen! This is a good article and many of us need to make the correction in our families and have more intimacy with our Lord and Savior.

    Comment by Jackie | October 12, 2009 | Reply


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