The most heart-breaking stories are those of broken homes and fractured relationships. There’s one reason – because in most instances they’re avoidable.

Broken Home

This post is part of the series – Non-Negotiables For a Healthy Family
Family – It Doesn’t Have to be This Way
Do You REALLY Care About Your Family?

This past week I was told of two families who are navigating incredibly challenging circumstances. In one household, the father has a history of abuse and the family has had enough. In the other, one parent was convicted of embezzling funds in the workplace and is serving a long-term prison sentence leaving behind a spouse and 3 precious daughters.

It didn’t have to be this way

These unfortunate situations are the direct result of bad decisions. They’re avoidable! And many similar situations (not all that different from yours and mine) are avoidable too.

But – and this is the difference-maker – it will require you to be more purposeful than you’ve ever been.

It’s not enough to deal with life as it happens. It’s not enough to succeed in your career and expect home life to work itself out. It won’t be enough to send your children to the best schools your money can buy. Taking them to church won’t be enough. It’s simply not fair to expect your spouse and children to keep it together when your behaviors demonstrate that family is not a priority.

So – if you’ve ever cared about your spouse, what your children will become, what you are leaving for your grandchildren, or what matters most to those who love you most – now’s the time to really do something about it!

Here are 2 essentials for healthy families – and you CAN do them. Everyone can…

1. Time

Sarah and I spend a significant amount of time with Madison and Andrew. And we love it. I’ve previously written about spending time with our children – you can read about it here.

But there was a time when I didn’t. Not because I didn’t want to. Not because I didn’t care. Not because I didn’t love them. I simply had not made home life a high enough priority to elicit a change in my behavior.

It’s true – to most people love is spelled t-i-m-e. Our children love our time together with them. So last night I laid down with Madison in her bed and talked about all kinds of “important” stuff.

A few moments ago, she walked in while I’m writing this post – I stopped and helped her buckle her sandals. And I’ll walk her to school this morning. Why? Because I have more time than the average dad? No – because she is a top priority for me.

If you’re like me, you’ll have to schedule significant time into your calendar for family or it won’t happen. At first it will feel forced because you’re changing old habits. But the longer you do it, you’ll get better at it and it will feel more natural.

2. Full attention

It’s one thing to spend time with a spouse, a son, a daughter, a grandchild. Yet I’m learning that HOW we spend the time together is far more important.

Are we fully engaged in the moment? Do they know that they have our undivided attention? Do they feel as if they are the most important person in the world during our moments together?

Or do they only get our undivided attention when we don’t have something more urgent to do?

Madison craves our undivided attention. For more than 7 years she was an only child. So she was regularly asking my wife and me to play with her. I wish I had done so more often.

We’ll never get parenting right 100% of the time – but we’ll get it right a lot more if we are purposeful with our time.

Article by Michael Nichols


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