Ok…I’m not really a great authority on this and I don’t have statistics to back up anything mainly because I don’t have the time to research them but from experience and talking to a great number of families in the past 14+ years of ministry, I see the following as the 5 greatest threats to the family:
- The Messed Up Marriage –The messed up marriage is in short the marriage where the priorities of the marriage center on everything but the most important things (see Target Practice blog here for list of most important things). Work, money, hobbies are just a few of those family threatening priorities.
- Outsourcing – There’s an old saying “if it’s worth doing – it’s worth delegating”. While that may be true in a many work environments it’s not so true when it comes to teaching and leading your children. Outsource parenting responsibilities may seem efficient and effective but when it comes to building a child’s faith or character, outsourcing is a huge threat. The church, the schools, coaches, scout leaders, therapist or instructors may be good resources but they are not the primary teachers and leaders of our kids! Parents are – See Deut 6 for reference.
- Screens – My kids love video games, TV and computers. So much so that if we let them have free reign of those things, they would literally do nothing else. Phones, IPads, computers and TV’s have become the world’s most overused babysitters. Unfortunately, they have also become the Crack Pipe for children of all ages and adults too. There is too much to say here in this blog but in short screens rob the family of quality time, discussion and relationship building. Little Screen – Big Threat!
- Competitors – This ties in with outsourcing and screens in that we have let competitors steal the market share of our kid’s attention. Things like extracurricular activities are the biggest competitors of “family time”. The trouble with competitors is that we invite them in and once they are in they keep on taking market share. Sports, classes, activities, events and “things” can compete for your family’s time especially if added in excess.
- Silence – Communication is the life blood of the family. Without communication marriages and families die! A family without communication is nothing more than a bunch of roommates. This threat is the most dangerous because it can cause all of the other issues on this list and vice-versa. Silence is not golden when it comes to the family.
A redundant and consistent message that I hear from so many of the families that I talk to is that “they are too busy” – mine included! It simply comes down to priorities and if being too busy means that you can’t keep your marriage strong, lead and strengthen your children, limit yours and your kid’s time on a screen, reduce the number of extracurricular activities and communicate with each other regularly then perhaps you need to consider being…well…not so busy!
Thank you for letting me preach to myself - now I think I'll shut this computer off and go talk to my wife and kids!