Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Beavers are industrious creatures, and if you stroll by a stream while hiking, upon your next day's return you might see a completely new dam built as their needs arise.

Bees have a society maintained by worker bees, and the workers work in a furious flurry of activity all predicated upon the continued survival of the species.

Americans picture themselves as beavers. Our children are busy. Everyone is busy. Busy as beavers and bees.

Curmudgeons, as they are sometimes labeled, complain that everyone and especially children are too busy.

"Our children's schedules are overloaded. Take your children out of some of the organized activities and let them enjoy life," they whine. "We're draining the childhood out of our kids with all these frantic activities," they moan. I have to agree with the curmudgeons.

I have had piano students for over twenty years, and I have watched the amount of their practice time slowly dwindle over the decades as more and more activities are squeezed into their schedules. The students don't have to lie; the parents will back them up. They truly are too busy to practice. I hear their schedules and inwardly groan, and I know they will never learn the piano because they have no practice time. If I tripled my rates, the parents might ensure their child would practice in order to warrant the expense, but more likely, I would probably lose them as clients.

Children are not beavers and bees. When they get too busy, they are no longer productive. All they do is buzz around and accomplish more with less excellence. Many of us are as busy as beavers and bees, but we are sacrificing a quality of excellence in our accomplishments.

Being busy as beavers and bees should not be a goal but a schedule that enables us to achieve excellence in our endeavors. When we squeeze in too many activities in too little time, we aren't as busy as bees and beavers; we become as busy as a couple of nerds in a never ending dodge ball game.

We should not strive for quantity of activities, but excellence in the quality of those we perform.

Of course, I could be wrong. We could be raising a new generation of Renaissance People, excelling at many activities and creating an explosion of amazing accomplishments that will mystify all.

I hope I'm a curmudgeon and wrong.

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