overachievers anonymous

something i am learning every day about prosper is there is a busyness here that i did not experience in other communities where we have lived. a small town stereotype is that life is simple and slow, predictable and unexciting. not so in prosper. actually even though the town population is somewhere around 6000 this is no small town. the type of folk moving here every day are not what one typically thinks of as small town texas.

one of my first impressions of prosper was the enourmous amount of suburbans and tahoes in town. believe me, there is much relief in detroit that the strike between gm and uaw ended so quickly! anyway, when i go to pick up james at school (in the interest of full disclosure we have a minivan, not an suv) i get in line behind dozens of suburbans, tahoes, escalades, and expeditions. the first day of school i wanted to make an impression by making sure my kid wasn't the last to be picked up, so i left early-- at 2:45. huge mistake. every other overachiever in town had the same plan, and i didn't get around the block for half an hour. now i do not leave home before 3:05.

it's the hectic schedule that gets me. maybe prosper is no different than any other town. maybe in duncanville we didn't know enough young couples with small children. but i never heard anyone talk as they do here-- kids in baseball, football, and soccer at the same time, or ballet, karate, and cheerleading. families can't do anything on saturdays because of their kids' commitments. and you can guess how that effects those families' attendance at church the next day! seems like every day i have a conversation with someone about why this project or that idea would not work because of soccer or school or fill in the blank.

you've probably heard retirees mention they become busier after retirement than during their working years. the same is true of stay at home moms in this town-- they leave full time paid work to raise their kids, and end up busier than they were in the office. every day when i sit in the suv line at the school i wonder: is it all worth it? are these families overcommitted, over-volunteered, undernourished spiritually? what is the end result when kids are so busy they cannot attend sunday school or church-- or, more likely, their parents are so worn out from the activities that sunday is a sleeping in opportunity?

james started soccer this month, and he's having a great time. he's at the stage where it's more of a social opportunity than competition. when i go to games to support him i look around at the other overachievers in attendance, some taking their kids' sport a little too seriously. then the game is over and everyone is hauled back into the wagon, off to the next activity. here's a suggestion: let's channel the same energy, pride, and passion into eating family meals together every night, with the t.v. off and the phone unanswered. let's channel those things into getting ourselves and our kids ready for church, to help them grow in their faith, which will be much more important to them in the long run than all the extra curriculars combined.

as we have been reading in our churchwide study, the more committed we are to God, the more committed he is to us. i am not saying sports and activities are bad-- in fact, i think they are great, and teach our kids great life lessons. but so do the things we sacrifice so that our kids can do these things. eating together. worshipping together. praying together. a recent survey showed that the thing young adults desire most is more time with family. not playstations, not halo 3, not ipods. time at home with family. what would happen to our kids, and to us, if we overachievers devoted that passion less to busyness and more to the things that create a real, lasting impact?