Family Work-Life Balance

Reflections: A Resolution to Balance

A Resolution to Balance

Five years ago, with a new year round the corner, I proposed to my wife that we make a New Year resolution. I had various plans to accomplish, goals to talk about but to my surprise, even before I started on any of my plans, my wife began to share what was on her mind.

She did not mince words. She said, “I think our youngest son misses you when you travel. It’s time you spend more time at home” she also added, “If you continue this way, he may end up calling you “Uncle” rather than “Dad.” This was the last thing I wanted to hear.

Seeing my acknowledgement of her complaint in silence, with much grace she said, “Can you stop feeling guilty and start spending time with our kids?” Well, I got the message and with deep conviction of my fault, I decided not to defend or give reasons, but to become intentional in spending time with my kids. We resolved to keep our Monday evenings free for our kids. The first Monday in the New Year, we took our kids out to their favorite restaurant and shared our resolution with them. We pledged to keep this time as much as possible and in case we missed it; we compensated during the week. This has been the best resolution we ever made as a family.

By prioritizing our family, we understand our kids much better. We come up with fun activities and games to do as a family and they are free to tell us openly what they feel about us. Just last week my youngest asked me, “Papa can we have family time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday?” As a couple, for the last 17 years of our marriage, we spend 30 minutes to an hour every day sharing, reading scripture and praying for various aspects of our family life and for the many couples who seek help through counseling.

We believe in the old adage, “A family that prays together stays together”. Very early in our marriage we realized “Unless God builds our marriage, we labor in vain.” When one of us travels, we use Skype to continue our family sharing and prayer together. I have asked people in our family seminars to plan a day imagining it is the last day of their lives. Most of them shared that they would spend time at home with their families.

When the twin towers in New York crashed down, no one was calling up their boss and apologizing for work that remained undone. People were calling their loved ones and bidding farewell. Our families will outlast our work. Learning to prioritize our family more than work needs be an intentional resolution and it will pay off good returns both at home and at work. The purpose of our Creation from my Scripture, the Bible, is not for work. We are created for relationship. Work is to enhance the primary purpose of relationships and not to destroy relationships.

When God created human beings, he wanted both men and women in partnership to rule over all that God had created. The care and nurture of creation was given as a responsibility to humans. But sadly, that purpose is thwarted by evil, and human beings today are ruled by their work, often at the cost of their relationships. If you feel the need to bring order to your home, I would suggest going by the order of God, Family and Work. Don’t make work your God.

Resolve to give adequate and intentional time to your family. Let your work increase the joy in your home and not destroy it. If you are looking for a good resolution for this year, try out intentional family time. It works!