If you knew you when you were going to die would you spend more time with family?
We don’t like to focus on death. It’s macabre, sad, taboo, and quite honestly, creepy. It’s not really a family centric discussion. If you knew you were about to die, shorter than the average human life, how would you spend your final moments?
Would you focus on doing what you do everyday or change habits to revolve more closely around family and friends?
That’s the extent I’ll discuss about death because this is supposed to be a happy blog, but I ask because we often need a reminder that our individual lives are short and the things we “think” are important sometime really aren’t.
It’s about family!
I make no claims to be the “poster child” for this topic. I still have much to learn. If you place a higher importance on building relationships with family and friends over career success, you’re on the right track. Often placing a higher importance on family and friends will lead to success in your career, because they’re related!
What will my family think?
I’m not one to not make a decision based on what others will think of me. I do; however, try to revolve my decisions around how they will affect my family and others. Decisions made that do not involve some type of thought in how it will positively affect others are a waste and often selfish.
Do you spend quality time with family and friends?
Where you spend the majority of your money and time is a direct reflection of your priorities. For many of us, it’s probably at work. This isn’t necessarily wrong because you have to make a living to support your family. Where it begins to cross the line is when you’d rather be at work. We often use work and hobbies as an escape from “something”. That something could be whatever is a target of stress in your life. This needs to be dealt with.
Growing up, I watched “National Lampoon’s Vacation“. First of all, it was the TV edit. When I finally watched the original I was shocked. So… I’m not advocating letting your kids watch it. I mention it because I appreciate the way Clark Griswold valued family time with his wife and kids. He did everything in his power to get his family to “Walley World”, even holding a guard at gunpoint. I don’t recommend holding a guard at gun point, or really any of the things he pulled off, but it’s not bad to have his passion.
Vacations need not be yearly trips to Disney World, Cruises or elaborately planned events. Simple day trips are often the most memorable joys. In fact, looking back on my childhood, two big events stand out. First were our yearly trips to Tulsa, Oklahoma for our family reunions. The second was a trip my mother, grandmother, brother, and myself took to Turner Falls and Arbuckle Wilderness just north of Ardmore, Oklahoma. They weren’t elaborate or expensive trips. They were simply fun times with family.
Do you ever just focus on listening?
I can’t remember the exact source, but there’s a statement someone once made on the value of listening to your children. I’m sure I’m not quoting it verbatim, but it goes something like this, “If you don’t listen to the little things your children tell you when they’re young, they’ll think their ideas are insignificant to you and won’t tell you about the important things affecting them when they’re older.” As a rule, when my 5yr old wants to tell me about the rock he saw on his way to school, I do everything I can to listen and make sure he knows that it’s important to me. You must do the same for those important in your life, even if it may not affect you in any way whatsoever. Just listen and make sure they know you’re listening. Be sincere too, it’s easy to feign interest, but don’t. Kids can see right through that. Ask questions. “How big was the rock?”, “Were there bugs underneath?”, “Was it pretty?”
As I’ve often heard it said, life priorities should be in this order: “God, Family, Church”. If those are understood and followed, everything else will fall into place. Today, try to spend just a little extra time in prayer and reflection, spend a little more time on your family, and finally spend a little more time helping those around you whether at church or just in your community.