Apparently, I can’t pick up a book with a normal short title this month. Maybe next time. Because I already believe that busyness is a critical danger and a significant malaise in our society, this book was a bit like preaching to the choir. I realize it. I agree. DeYoung has a candid, balanced, straight-forward approach that was easy to read and digest. Here are a few thoughts:
- DeYoung argues that the believer needs to understand that they are not the Savior. They do not have to do everything because, quite frankly, they cannot do everything. “Along with the Apostle’s Creed and the Belgic Confession and the Westminster Confession, make sure you confess John the Baptist’s creed: I am not the Christ.” In other words…it’s not all your job.
- much of our busyness comes down to meeting people’s expectations….and…people-pleasing is actually a form of pride and narcissism. Ouch.
One of the most freeing discussions in the book for me was about parenting:
- You might call this child-obsessed parenting an expression of sacrificial love and devotion. And it might be. But you could also call it Kindergarchy: rule by children. “Under Kindergarchy,” Joseph Epstein observes, “all arrangements are centered on children: their schooling, their lessons, their predilections, their care and feeding and general high maintenance—children are the name of the game.”1 Parents become little more than indentured servants attending to their children as if they were direct descendants of the Sun King. “Every child a dauphin” is how Epstein puts it.
- More than 40 percent of kids gave their moms and dads a C, D, or F on controlling their temper. It was the worst grade on the children’s parental report card. Our children, Caplan argues, are suffering from “secondhand stress.” By trying to do so much for them, we are actually making our kids less happy. It would be better for us and for our kids if we planned fewer outings, got involved in fewer activities, took more breaks from the kids, did whatever we could to get more help around the house, and made parental sanity a higher priority.
- Could it be we’ve made parenting too complicated? Isn’t the most important thing not what we do but who we are as parents? They will remember our character before they remember our exact rules…
- God doesn’t provide many specific instructions about the parent-child relationship, except that parents should teach their children about God (Deut. 6:7; Proverbs 1–9), discipline them (Prov. 23:13; Heb. 12:7–11), be thankful for them (Ps. 127:3–5), and not exasperate them (Eph. 6:4). Filling in the details depends on the family, the culture, the Spirit’s wisdom, and a whole lot of trial and error.