Busy Busy Busy

BUSY BUSY BUSY by Sandra Boynton
WE’RE
very very busy
and we’ve got a lot to do
and we haven’t got a minute
to explain it all to you
for on SundayMondayTuesday
there are people we must see
and on WednesdayThursdayFriday
we’re as busy as can be
with our most important meetings
and our most important calls
and we have to do so many things
and post them on the walls

THEN
we have to hurry to the south
and then we hurry north
and we’re talking every minute
as we hurry back and forth
and we have to hurry to the east
and then we hurry west
and we’re talking every minute
and we don’t have time to rest
and we have to do it faster
or it never will be done
and we have no time for listening
or anything that’s fun.

I’m a big fan of Sandra Boynton’s books for kids. We have many of her board books and love them all. We also love her music CD/books: Philadelphia Chickens, Dog Train and Rhinoceros Tap. (I just discovered that she has another one that we don’t have, Blue Moo, which I may just have to get one day.) The songs are kid-friendly but clever enough lyrically for adults. If you haven’t heard them, try listening here on Rhapsody.

This song has been on my mind lately. The Christmas season is busy. It was for me, and it seems that everyone I talked to commented on how busy they were. It seemed that many conversations I had this month went something like this “How are you?” “Busy, it’s just so crazy this time of year.” “Oh, I know, it’s so hard. We’re busy too.” And it made me start to think about all this bustle and busy-ness and wonder how much of it is real and how much is self-imposed.

Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of us are busy. But I started to think about what was really necessary and what wasn’t and I realized a lot of the so-called craziness in my life could be easily eliminated.  There are necessities, which with little kids, can be significant. Kids have to be fed, babies have to be nursed, groceries have to be bought, meals have to be made. The house needs to be kept some degree of clean. Laundry has to be washed. Diapers have to be changed.

Then there are the things that are necessary, but only because of the way we’ve chosen to live. Homeschooling for example, creates a certain amount of work that has to be done (planning, teaching, record-keeping). But homeschooling itself is not truly a necessity. It’s something we feel is best for our family and worth the extra work, but it’s still a choice.

A lot of other things fall into the category of things I like/are important to me/are good or worthwhile but aren’t necessary. In fact, most things fall into that category: teaching Sunday School at church, John’s music class, going to a friend’s party, Cub Scout activities. They all have worth and are fun or good to do. But I need to remember that they are all choices that I am making. I think this is important because often I find myself feeling stressed and forget that so much of what I am doing is not essential.  I need to realize that the reason I don’t have time to do X or Y is usually because of other choices I have made. If I really want to do X or Y I need to make the time to do those, which may mean eliminating something else.

My final thought though is that I’ve come to believe that busy-ness is valued in our society. I think a lot of people like being busy or at least like appearing busy. We might groan and one-up each other with stories about our packed schedules and crazy lives, but  I think a lot of us find validation in those packed schedules. If I’m busy, I’m important. I have meaning. I’m needed.  And that’s where the Sandra Boynton song comes in. The image I have in my head of the person singing this song is someone just running around full of self-importance and self-made busy-ness but not really doing anything important or of meaning. I don’t think being busy is a bad thing but I do think it’s a bad thing if it’s where I get my self-worth. I do think it’s a bad thing if I’m so busy that I “have no time for listening or anything that’s fun”.

I’m not sure I’ll become less busy in 2010. I like most of the things we do and I also like being busy. But I hope I can remember to make time in my schedule for a little listening and a lot of fun.

3 thoughts on “Busy Busy Busy

  1. I used the ‘Philadelphia Chickens’ book for an assignment in college about content literacy. My favorite was the bellybutton round! 😀

  2. Pingback: Busy, busy, busy (redux) « Supratentorial

  3. Pingback: Busy, busy, busy (again) | Supratentorial

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