A man worked for a television studio, but, unlike so many in the TV industry who seldom watch television themselves, this man was addicted to it. He would come home from work, turn on the tube and watch it all evening—usually until it went off the air. He spent little or no time with his two children or his wife. In fact, his kids hardly knew they had a dad. All they knew was that someone living there watched TV all the time.
Needless to say, his marriage was hurting and deeply immersed in isolation. For some reason, however, he and his wife decided to attend a Marriage Enrichment Conference, and that weekend literally changed his life. He realized his priorities were totally wrong and that he was setting a bad example for his children.
When the man got home on the evening following the conference, the first thing he did was take the television set from the family room and store it in the garage. Then he took a family portrait he had stuffed away in a closet and hung it on the wall where the television set used to be.
Next he called his wife and two children into the family room for a family council meeting. As he shared with them his new set of priorities and asked for their forgiveness, his 12-year-old son interrupted him and said, “Dad, now that there is a picture of our family where the television used to be, does this mean we are going to be a family now?”
This husband and father had made a giant step, from spending night after night doing nothing of value, to deciding to be a dad who cared about his family and did something tangible about it.
If it seems that your family is not connecting, let me suggest that you:
Pray about your priorities.
Ask God to help you order your life according to his priorities.
Think through your promotions.
Often promotions come with a corresponding increase in workload and hours. Is it worth it?
Consider changing jobs.
No job is worth sacrificing your spouse or children. No career is more important than your relationship with those you love.
Stop gift wrapping the garbage.
Or anything else that drives you to perfection and sacrifices valuable time with your family. As I was mowing my yard the other day, I thought, “Do I want to be remember for having a beautiful lawn or having a wonderful family?”
We must be diligent to screen out any attacks—vicious or otherwise—that would rob us from spending time with our family. A recent survey by Massachusetts Mutual Insurance found that Americans believe “parents having less time to spend with their families” was the single most important reason for the family’s decline in our society. Spending time with our family is our right. Frank Minirth, M.D., states, “A child’s birthright is the right to spend time with his family.” And every other member of the family has that right, too.