Too busy and therefore stressed out?

I accepted invitations to several fantastic events in an 8 day period. Quite honestly, it was ridiculous how much I crammed in.  My motive was selfish like it usually is.  I grew up watching Wonder Woman advertised by Enjoli.

“I can bring home the bacon.  Fry it up in the pan.  And make you never forget that you’re a man.  ‘Cause I’m a woman…Enjoli.” 

There you have it.  I’m growing  up in the 1970’s with my female role models on television Lynda Carter, the actress for Wonder Woman and the actress for Enjoli .  The breaks from the show burned into my head the message that I can do it all and have it all by a jingle powerfully set to the master of learning: music and visual screen.

Is it a wonder that Gordon Dahl wrote this critique of American work and worship more than thirty-six years ago (1972)?

“Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work; work at their play; and play at their worship. That which we worship, we serve, and that which we serve we will give our all–heart, soul, mind and body.”

Reflecting this morning makes me think that maybe the loss of the middle class might not be such a bad thing if we were that brainwashed and misled.

I witness too many well intended parents signing their children up for this and that.  Driving here and there in horrible traffic.  And therefore stressing themselves and their children out.

What happens when we are too busy?  We don’t have time to listen to others and to mind our manners.  I’m so rushed to get done what I need to accomplish that I skip “How are you?” and just jump to what I want.  When was the last time you asked this question you were willing to hear the answer?

It’s an American cultural embarrassment that we really don’t want people to answer this question.  We have lost our manners and therefore lost the respect of those around the world who do mean what they say.

Isn’t that what irritates me the most about some?  They can sit around all day to talk.  There’s no question I want you to hear what I have to say.  I’m a woman, a recovering misguided religious zealot, and a writer.  Of course I have too much to say!  But do I care enough about you to hear about what you have to say?  Now that’s humbling.

And then we wonder why we are so lonely.  We have destroyed the very fabric of relationships.  Relationships don’t work when ego rules.  I believe this is why its such a hot topic these days to call your partner, boss, or parent  narcissists.  The biggest problem is that we all narcissists to some degree.  Have you observed how we behave right out of the womb? Feed me, hold me, cloth me, xyz me. It’s part of our human nature.  This is why the sea bird scene in Finding Nemo is so funny  and therefore outside of the ride at Epcot. img_7427

The wise words to be slow to speak but quick to understand are what the late Stephen R. Covey built his 5th Habit from for a reason. It just good manners.  Of which we have become to busy to practice.

The resulting consequences are disastrous.  In our misguided beliefs that we can do it all and have it all, we have raised privileged self-centered children who often need therapy due to their resulting anxiety and depression issues.   Students who lack respect of teachers and authority.  Workers who lack respect for bosses.  Residents who disrespect governing leaders.  People who kill cops.  And presidential candidates who name call and bully their opponents.

Thankfully, I had a mother who taught me to read a chapter in the book of Proverbs every day.

Parents, what you teach your children when they are young may not defeat the culture, but it will instill a consciousness and a basis for a heart in your child.  Let’s get back to being great parents, because our mainstream technological culture lacks a soul.  But remember to first practice what you preach.   Slow down.  Practice saying, “No thank you.” Choose your commitments wisely.  Change them when you realize it’s too much.  And most of all grow up yourself by healing the broken hurting child inside of you.

-author of Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo



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