With the large number of forces competing for your time and attention, it is a wonder that many of us have any time for family at all. A “Family First” concept is one that subordinates, to more or less degrees, all of those influences that interfere with the family organization. Some of the forces that we are forced to compete with are:
Work vs. the Family–work becomes our Number One Priority. The family takes a backseat. We often justify this situation by assuming that it is a necessary evil without really investigating whether or not there is a better way.
Children vs. the Family–the needs of the family as a unit become subordinate to the needs and wants of the children. The children get all the attention, but the family as a whole suffers, which eventually affects the children.
Diversions vs. the Family–time for hobbies, sports and other diversions for family individuals become more important than family time.
It must be a conscious decision to put the family first. In most situations, it doesn’t just happen (there are too many potential competitions wanting too much of your time–they will win by default).
Set aside a set amount of time each week for family pursuits. This does not need to be a set time each week, but it should be a minimum amount of time. For example, one week it may be a family visit to a park on Sunday, the next week a family movie (at the theater or at home) on a Friday evening, the following week a family discussion time on Thursday night.
Keep “Self Pursuits” under control. Instead of one family member watching a television program that no one else is interested in, another accessing the Internet, and another listening to music, find a family pursuit that will interest all members of the family.
Share joys and pains. Instead of harboring emotions (or letting the children harbor them), make it a practice to share emotions with the entire family.
Slow down. Sit and meet as a family. Sitting as a family is so unusual in this day and age that some families are almost embarrassed by the notion. It is though it is a throwback to candlelit evenings in the log cabin–we’re too busy for that now! Try it!
Control those things that compete with the “Family First” concept. One of the worst is time that is simply wasted that could be better used for family pursuits. Put together a system that allows you to manage your time. Eliminate time thieves that detract from the family time that you do have.
Want more information on juggling job and family? Read Dianna Daniels Booher’s recommended Get a Life Without Sacrificing Your Career : How to Make More Time for What’s Really Important, an excellent resource on balancing work and home available from amazon.com
Richard Carlson’s excellent Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff With Your Family : Simple Ways to Keep Daily Responsibilities and Household Chaos from Taking over Your Life is a great resource for finding ways of effectively balancing family relationships.