When less is more

The Accidental Missionary published a blog post that has gone viral recently, and it's no wonder to us that it's making such an impression. In the post, the author talks about his experiences as a dad struggling to motivate his kids, aching for them to be "successful" and stumbling along the way to figuring out that there's more to be gained from doing less. 

Wanting what’s best for your kids is all about the child. It’s about helping them find something they are passionate about so they are intrinsically driven to reveal the strengths that God gave them, whether in art, music, sports, writing, academics, or community service.

Wanting them to be the best is all about me. My expectations. My fears. So I yell at them from the stands, correct them after lessons, and coax them into activities that suck the fun out of childhood. And in the process, I teach them that their worth is wrapped up in how they perform. I teach them that second place is losing. I teach them that judgment is more important than love and acceptance.
— Scott Dannmiller, The Accidental Missionary

Many of the girls and parents we work with struggle to keep up with the high-stakes, high-pressure, overly-scheduled world we inhabit. The kids are feeling pressure at school, pressure at home, pressure with friends. Expectations come to feel like heavy backpacks weighed down with rocks. Ever been on a hike with that much excess baggage? It makes it downright impossible to enjoy the journey, take time to sit quietly by the stream and bask in the warm sunlight when you're carrying such a heavy load. 

We want kids to be successful so we push them to do more, be more, succeed more. What is lost in the push for success? What is there to be gained from stepping back, doing less, slowing down? More than anything, most parents just want their kids to be happy, and happiness comes not from our success but from our ability to take pleasure in life, in learning and in pursuing the things that are meaningful to us. Helping our kids cultivate this intrinsic drive to explore, be curious and engage in the world around them can set them up for the real success: the ability to live a life of meaning. That looks different for everyone, but one way to ensure that we suck the joy out of every day life experiences is to turn them all into a race to the top. 

How do you encourage your kids to slow down? How do you support their natural curiosity? What can you do to allow yourself the same opportunities for a less driven, more meaningful life?