There Isn’t Anything In This World Quite As Exhausting As Relaxing.

by Mary Ann on May 17, 2010

Do you see that title up there. That is a quote from Rabbit Takes a Vacation. I caught the tail end of the story my grandchildren were watching on DVD. Rabbit was just coming home and he made that pithy statement. (In case that is a new word for you it means having substance and point: tersely cogent) It was so tersely cogent that it wrapped my whole life into those 11 small words. I know that it will hit many of you right between the eyes also.

Why does showing up and staying present wear out so many mom’s and dad’s. Why does watching our children play, answering their questions or listening to them as they verbalize their thoughts sometimes seem like such a poor use of our finite time. Don’t we love our children? Don’t we have a vision of the warm and gentle family atmosphere we want  to create? Don’t we want to inspire our children to greatness? Of course we do but we are sooooooo busy. (One of the reasons we are so busy is that we consistently ignore rule four of the Five Rules of Engagement – Keep it simple!)

So let’s take a look at Rabbit’s comment again. He was chattering on about how on his vacation people wanted to know what they could do for him, could they get him tea, or draw his bath or turn down his bed, and on and on. He missed work! He missed having something important and valuable to do! After all, seeing old friends and relatives, reminiscing about the past, contemplating and discussing the future and just plain having a good time were a waste of time. Have you ever found yourself in this frame of mind?

Well, I have. It happened to me at little league games, dance classes, Beans and Book night at the local elementary school, sitting on a child’s bed and listening to all the details of their day, or listening to a six year old read Run Jane Run. Now lest you think that I was a terrible mother let me assure you that I did plenty of those activities and did them often. That didn’t stop the occasional feeling that I ought to be doing something else, something of greater import. I had work to do. The laundry was 3 feet high (literally), the kitchen floor had taken a hit of orange juice and I had a lesson to prepare for Sunday. Just sitting and listening or observing another person grow and learn was not enjoyable because I had so much work to do and all I could think about was my stuff. Just like rabbit I found it exhausting to sit and enjoy. My mind wouldn’t let me.

I mentioned once that Steven Covey said we often get stuck in the thick of thin things. I was stuck their on a regular basis. If we look at the important things in our lives they usually involve putting our own stuff on the shelf and letting someone else’s stuff take center stage. So when we think about this in terms of The Spark Station or our family what does that mean?

We are supposed to have a structured family time that we hold fairly sacred. We are supposed to be consistent in honoringthisparticular commitment to our children, their inspiration and learning and to our vision of raising leaders and statesmen.  We should show up every day of the week. We need to smile and the curtain should come down on our “work” and the curtain should rise on the stage of their “work”. We need to sit and watch the play of their lives as it unfolds on the stage of learning, inspiration and enjoyment. We should clap in appreciation at their efforts to expand and grow. We need to feel delight in their joy which then becomes our joy.

We need to rest from our own mind chatter and engage in theirs. We relax and enjoy; and when our time with them in this structured place ends we will walk away refreshed in mind, even if tired in body (working with kids can wear you out) because we realize that we have been taking part in the “real” work of our lives – the creation of our family and serving in the world.

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