Were You Hurried as a Kid?

I put this query on Google+ but thought I’d put it here too.

As most of you know, I’m writing a book about our family’s weekly Sabbath practice and how that works in the midst of a very busy life involving two careers, three kids and their various activities, etc. Part of our interest in Sabbath is to help our kids not have a completely go-go-go childhood. Yet even with this practice and intention, I feel like I’m regularly shooing my kids out the door to get somewhere.

In contrast, I’ve been thinking about my own childhood — there were four of us kids, and we were involved in all kinds of activities, but looking back, I never remember feeling rushed. But nor was I late to stuff. So I wonder, am I just not remembering the hurry and the scheduling? Or did my mother cultivate a more relaxed attitude than I feel like I do? 🙂

And here’s what I want to know from others: did you feel rushed, or busy, as a kid? Do you have memories of being hurried and/or overprogrammed? If so, what was that like? And if you can’t recall those experiences, do you think that’s a function of memory, or were things really different back then? Or both?

Feel free to e-mail me directly if you’d rather not comment here: maryannmcdana (at) gmail (dot) com.


9 thoughts on “Were You Hurried as a Kid?

  1. Roy Howard says:


    To the main question – no, I don’t recall being rushed and over programmed as a child growing up in the sixties. (Okay so I’ve given away the generational clue.) Here is what I just wrote related to your question (at least I think it’s related.)

    I am reminded of my days growing up along the panhandle of Florida. We lived in the stuff every day! I recall playing outdoors all the time in the heat, humidity and especially bugs! None of my pals wanted to spend our days inside during the summer. We were more interested in riding bicycles, building secret forts in the woods, swimming in the bays and bayous, playing games all day and then into the night. When night descended if there wasn’t a baseball game to play, we’d play capture the flag, cutthroats and alley cats or kick the can. Where I lived it was a good day when the mosquito truck came through the neighborhood, and not because the mosquitoes were killed. Another joy ride for my pals and me! Walking around my neighborhood now I miss kids playing (there are plenty of them). Are they inside where it’s cool? I miss the days when children could roam free outside, unhooked from devices and television, without every moment supervised and pre-planned by adults.

  2. abbiewatters says:

    I don’t think I was over programmed as a child. In fact, I don’t remember any activities except choir rehearsal one afternoon a week and Brownies/Girl Scouts one afternoon a week, and they each lasted about an hour. I walked to the church and to Girl Scout meetings. I also walked to school in the morning, home for lunch, and back to school at noon, and walked home in the afternoon. We played outside. I read books. We went to the grocery store with Mama (when she had the car). We rode bikes. We played hopscotch, and Red Rover, and Mother May I, and Uncle Sam. We sure didn’t stay inside where it was cool because we didn’t have A/C until I was in Junior High.
    Interesting that you should ask this question right now, because I’m doing a series in my blog, for my grandchildren, about family history. I’m following the Legacy Project’s interview. You can check it out at http://www.abbiewatters.wordpress.com.

  3. belovedspear says:

    No, not at all. Summers were meandering through one book after another, and playing with friends, none of whom seemed overscheduled either. I was a pretty laid-back lad, though, so perhaps I should have been more hurried, particularly when it came to algebra. What I mostly remember was not just that *I* wasn’t hurried. It was that my parents weren’t hurried, either.

    They were busy, of course. But all of the things they did seemed manageable, so that there was always time for going out, or socializing, or tennis, or music. Their lives did not appear to revolve around us and our schedules.

    As the primary caregiver, I’m pretty intentional about reinforcing that with my lads. There’s stuff to do, sure. But summers need not be a camp conveyor-belt, either. One of the joys of part-time pastoring, to be sure.

  4. Sarah says:

    Busy – in a mostly very good way – school band, usually a musical in the spring, wrestling score keeper (including tourneys), full academic load, steady boyfriend/social stuff that entailed, Girl Scouts, church/choir, youthgroup at boyfriend’s church – home chores including the usual stuff as well asmucking out stalls/tending horses, mowing the lawn, working FT in summers after 10th grade. Hurried? Not so much. Lots of time for books, riding bikes, playing sandlot baseball in the neighborhood, exploring the caves/creeks, esp. thru middle school.

    Felt more hurried with my own children – why? WOrked full time and was the full time parent after the youngest was 5. My mm did not work outside the home – although she was very busy in the community/church/her own interest groups/family stuff – and I think that made for some different time/space for things to occur differences.

  5. Mike says:

    When I was a kid, my little league, parks and rec. activities and friendships were in biking distance of my home. Today kids are not allowed to bike as far from home as we were back then. So parents definitely are more involved in driving to and fro.

    I wonder how being able to get to activities under our own power affects the sense of hurry.

    I don’t remember being hurried and I was not overprogramed when I was young. It seems like there were more givens in a week to count on and not every activity was seen as a choice between several options. For example, worship was a given. Today a significant portion of our congregation almost didn’t come this morning as they weighed the choices available to them on their Sabbath day.

    Because hurry is a learned behavior it also can be unlearned . Blessings as you develope your Sabbath project.

  6. MaryAnn says:

    I appreciate everyone’s thoughts here—the thing about getting ourselves from place to place is a great point.

    I also got great responses on Google+. Interestingly, lots of people were involved in many activities, yet they don’t remembering being rushed around. So I’m thinking that parents like me, who feel so guilty every time they say “Hurry up! We need to go!” because we feel like we’re hurrying our kids’ childhoods away, can lighten up on ourselves a little.

    I know a lot of people remember their childhood the way Roy does. I do too, to some extent, though it was in the 70s. And we can try to reclaim aspects of it to some degree, but really, those days are over. So my question is always how we can live as faithfully and well as possible in this culture. There’s no going back to the other one.

  7. Grace says:

    Belatedly … I do not remember feeling hurried or time-starved until my senior year of high school. I was overburdened in third grade because I had an insane teacher who assigned WAY too much meaningless busywork for homework.

    My mother was chronically late throughout my childhood, and was usually rushing us somewhere, but I don’t look back and go “oh, I wish we hadn’t rushed so much!” Rushing was something grownups did, like telling us to set the table and clean our rooms.

    We didn’t have a TV, and I remember spending lots of time playing pretend games with my sister and reading books on my bed.

    There was then huge culture shock when I got to college and WAS rushed and overscheduled (because who isn’t, in college?). It took me a long time to stop freaking out and realize that I did have time to do my work and get decent grades. If I could do college over again I would socialize more and read less.

  8. Dot says:

    I grew up much earlier than most of the people who have commented here. The only time I ever remember feeling rushed was when I personally procrastinated doing a homework assignment. It was never because I was over scheduled. I do think there are many reasons why we were less rushed. There were not as many activities available, especially for girls. We had choir practice and youth group if we were involved with a church. Girl Scouts was my only activity outside of church and school. Some people had 4H Club or joined the YMCA. My brother played sports but it was all very low key. I played some ball in the empty lot next door but nothing organized.
    Summers were very lazy. I always went to Bible School and Girl Scout camp. We walked or rode bikes. I remember riding my bike to my grandparents home which was out in the country on a farm. I don’t know how far it actually was but it was a long ride and we had no cell phone with us. We took long hikes up the mountain without adults and played in the neighborhood creek. We came home when we were hungry or when it got dark. I did play dolls and paper dolls inside but it was not in an air conditioned house. I think TV changed things but even after we had one there were very few programs on the air. I don’t think that the new way is wrong and the old way was right. I just think that things are different. My mother and father also had a very different childhood from mine and times will continue to change. Hopefully the thing that will stay with each generation is teaching children right from wrong in a loving manner so that they will feel loved and secure.

  9. I grew up in the 80s, and we were always late for everything. I had church choir, girl scouts and saturday morning classes (my mom didn’t want us watching saturday morning cartoons.) Mornings were always a rush, trying to get three of us up and and ready for school. Its not that we had so much to do as there were three of us and one of her, and she is still always late for everything. Sadly, I’ve continued the family trend of disliking late-ness and being chronically late at the same time.

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