Help For the Hurried Home

In hindsight my theme for 2013 could have been “slowing down” instead of “connection” but the two concepts are increasingly intertwined in my mind.

“Many of us feel as if we can’t get our lives unfolded.  With all the worry and hurry around us, it’s difficult to gain any kind of honest perspective.  Sometimes it takes a whack on the side of the head just to get our attention.”

Or if not a whack on the head, I found a hospital stay, issues with an unborn baby, and bedrest to be effective attention grabbers.  Not that I’d wish that on any of you!

As part of my ongoing effort to think through slowing down and living deliberately, I read Tim Kimmel’s excellent and insightful book Little House on the Freeway: Help for the Hurried Home.

In Little House on the Freeway, Kimmel aptly diagnoses our modern problem of being constantly hurried, noting that “the selfish human ego hungers for an overloaded life” and that we have to take deliberate action to choose to prioritize rest and relationships.

The book contains chapters diagnosing different types of busy-ness, and discusses common problems of overloaded lives, including anxiety, lack of perspective, lack of deep connections, selfishness, and dissatisfaction.  When we live life according to the artificial expectations of our consumer-oriented society, Kimmel says, we wind up going through life without joy, feeling an unspecific but persistent dissatisfaction and inadequacy.

What are we to do about this cultural tendency?  How can thoughtful families handle technology, relationships, marriage, and parenting without succumbing to hurried lifestyles?

Kimmel offers constructive and creative solutions to these situations by getting to the heart of each issue.

For example, an internet filter will not produce children who know how to handle technology, because the problem is not the internet.  The problem is that the child (or adult) needs to be taught how to handle their time and temptations.  Kimmel points out that “every good idea can be appropriated in an evil or corrosive way” so the challenge of parenting and also of navigating adult choices is a deeper one of self-discipline and discernment.

Kimmel’s takes on marriage, work, and family in the context of living deliberately, while not comprehensive, were helpful and insightful.  If you’re thinking about how to live deliberately and keep your family priorities straight in a busy, hurried world, I highly recommend Little House on the Freeway – it’s a short read, but I think you’ll find it helpful and thought-provoking.

How do you keep your family from getting too busy or feeling too frazzled?


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