Friday, February 24, 2006

Busy-ness (and) Syndrome

A friend of ours came to visit. We met her in the city, took her around for the day, and then brought her home with us to stay the night and take her to the airport the following day. It was a fun, busy, and satisfying couple of days, but I was tired at the end of it...taking care of company, two kids, running around the city--deep breath.

As we were coming home in the midst of rush hour traffic we stopped for some take-out, and the place was packed with people, probably on their way home from work, trying to get a supersize nibble before rushing their kid over to the Sylvan learning center, just across the parking lot.

We wondered out loud--what's the big deal about Sylvan and tutoring places in general? I'm not saying they're bad...I'm just supposin' here...

Let's see...parents need two incomes so they can pay for their lifestyle. Child goes to public school that is sub-standard, comes home from school and after-school day-care cranky. He's unwilling or unable to do homework because he's too tired, doesn't get it, or just doesn't care. Parents scratch heads supposing that it must be the school's fault, or the kid's because he just doesn't listen, or his teacher isn't explaining well enough, so it's off to Sylvan for some caring, quality help. Once home from Sylvan exhausted child goes to bed with a peck of approval from Mom because he got his homework done. Next morning before sunrise she shuffles him out of bed to get him to school and herself off to work.

I am convinced that the busy-ness that people are engaged in today is epidemic. They are in a constant struggle to keep up, keep pace, and bypass the "average" so that they and their kids will be "special," "successful," "accomplished." I'd like to paraphrase Syndrome from The Incredibles... He said to Mr. Incredible that he invented his superpowers, but when he was tired of them, he'd sell them, and then everyone could be special, and then when EVERYONE was special, NO ONE would be!

My friend that was visiting teaches kids piano. She says that most of the kids are enrolled in two or three additional activities. "No wonder they don't practice," was her comment.

Looks like we'll have some pretty "special" pianists someday...

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