Human ‘Doings’ vs. Human ‘Beings’

By Marilee Jones

If you want to assess the quality of your own life, take a step back and observe your child’s.  Chances are, they are so busy with every spare moment taken up with homework or extra-curricular activities, enrichment activities, the Internet, texting or twittering.  Our kids are the busiest young people on the planet, struggling to live up to adult expectations, participating actively with adults in all aspects of planning daily life.

I call this generation “human doings” instead of “human beings” because so much of their awake time is spent doing things.  We’ve trained them into the belief that we value them for the product they produce, the goals they score, the grades they earn, the attention they attract, the colleges they get admitted to.  We no longer seem to value their just ‘being’.

America is an action country and New York is its extreme.  In many circles, you are only as good as your last success and success is always based in action.  Because we want to help our kids get ahead, we expect them to win win win and we all know that winning takes preparation time.  Action is good and necessary for our overall happiness, but action without rest, without experiencing, is not the complete human experience and is the reason we live such stressful lives.

What is a life lived well?  In addition to action, it always includes rest, contemplation, reverence and fun.

Now consider that many of our kids live their lives in kinetic energy, all action, doing, producing, with little rest time or time to think.  The problem with constant activity is that there is no time for creativity, imagination, even happiness.  Because they can get so out of balance, it isn’t long before some kids begin to get sick.

This chronic action state has serious consequences for our culture.   More on this later.

Less Stress, More Success

"Her book has added to her reputation as a kind of guru of the movement to tame the college admissions frenzy.”
New York Times
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Our book group just read your book and it sparked more conversation than we’ve had in the seven years we’ve been reading together. Being successful professionals with busy lives and even busier children, we’re all trying to figure out how to find the time to just stop and enjoy our lives amidst so much pressure. Some of us find ourselves quoting you to our husbands and kids now, so you are our hero. ;-)
Sophia N. and Nancy R.

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