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Goals for Family Life

Some of your family goals likely are interrelated with the other major goal areas of your life

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Despite what the media and some on the Left espouse, children need parents, and two good parents are better than one good one.

Young children grow up with the best chance of succeeding in life when they have two loving, caring parents. Certainly, a single parent raising children can do a wonderful job. Many single parents perform everyday acts of heroism when you consider all that they do.

You can strengthen your family by setting family related goals. Understandably, some of the goals you have for your family life are likely interrelated with the other major goal areas of your life.

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The Most of Family Life

In her book, The Art of the Fresh Start, Glenna Salisbury begins her acknowledgment with a memorable phrase. She says, “Love fires my life and I have been surrounded by an abundance of supply of this precious commodity.” She is referring largely to her family.

If your family fits the traditional pattern or represents something new, you have the ever-present opportunity to improve the quality and overall health and well-being of your family and family relationships.

Suppose you are married and have children, are married and will have children, were married and have children, or will be married and contemplate having children in the future.

With that in mind, what kind of family goals do you have and what type of goals might be appropriate for the whole family, i.e., where every member can make inputs?

Interrelationships among Goals

One of your goals might be to provide for your children’s education, buy a better home, and be able to retire with grace and ease when the time comes.

Any financial goals you choose to pursue for you and your family need to be initiated as early as possible. All benefits, including compound interest, accumulating principle, even the discipline to start saving and investing in this manner, work out for the best when you begin at as young an age as is possible for you.

If your child is in grade school now, and you want to be able to send him or her to college, or a better high school, it will be easier if you start early.

If your child is thirteen-years-old, and you have five years to save, to accumulate a given sum you’ll have to put away three times or more the amount than you would if you started when your child was age three. That’s the way time, money, and interest work.

Show a More Active Interest

Suppose your goal is to take a more active interest in your family’s activities. This means spending more time with them, actually conveying your interest, being a good listener, and so forth.

Many people ‘say’ they want to be more involved with their family; they want to spend more time with their son, they want to attend their daughter’s recital.

The reality for many parents, however, is different. They might catch the last ten minutes of the recital, spend three minutes per day actually listening to their spouse, barely know their son, and so on. Is any of this familiar to you? We are guessing that it is.

The key to pursuing goals in a variety of areas is balance. Nowhere is this clearer than when in pursuit of family goals, because your family members are likely to let you know when you’re not upholding your word.

The Family that Plays Together

Another common goal area is trips and vacations. An old joke: A trip is when you bring the kids, and a vacation is when you leave them at home. You need both, of course, and significant differences accrue when the kids are not in tow!

How often would you like to go away with your family versus with your significant other? Suppose your goal is to take two trips of between three and six days with the kids, each year, and the same number of ‘vacations.’ Perhaps during the in between times, you also seek to take at least a few weekend getaways.

Realizing this goal would involve considerable planning – allocating funds, making reservations, coordinating schedules, including your children’s academic schedules, and handling projects at work in advance of departure dates.

Family Dynamics

How your family operates often is representative of how your life operates. Do you want your children to greet you enthusiastically when they return from visiting friends or an after-school activity? If they don’t regularly do this, then you might want to set a goal of greeting them daily or at some other interval with open arms when you return from work or time away.

Assuming that you’ve married the right person, if he or she hasn’t been responsive lately, perhaps it’s because you haven’t been communicating well.

When you compose a list of the things that aren’t working in your family, and choose areas in which to establish goals, often what you discover is that your own behavior and mindset are what needs changing first. Don’t say “if my spouse would change” …look in the mirror.

To influence another person, that is, induce them to change, the seeds of change or the desire to move has to already reside in that person. It’s tough to induce anybody to revise their approach to life.

As much as you think you can motivate and inspire someone to do something, in actuality, you can only plant the seed, and help it to grow.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Faith

Decrease in Marriage Continues a Spiraling Wave of Problems, and Churches are AWOL

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Over 60 years after the decline of marriage began in the 1960s due to the rise of the “free love” mentality, the results are more dismal than ever. In 1960, only 28% of adults were single. Now almost 50% of adults are single. Marriage rates are at their lowest ever in U.S. history. There are eight times more children born to unmarried parents than married. 

 

This is a problem. While progressives love to tear down the traditional nuclear family, they can’t argue with the increasingly negative facts coming out. Cohabitation arrangements break up around five times more frequently than marriages, and unplanned pregnancies occur three times more often with cohabiting couples than married couples. Unmarried couples with children are three times more likely to split up and have lower incomes. Children without fathers are more likely to suffer an “Adverse Family Event,” which is abuse, neglect or other trauma. Disregarding the old saying “Marriage tames men” is why we are seeing a spike in bad behavior by men.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: A Compound National Fracture

 

Two authors with extensive backgrounds in marriage and the Christian church have written a book, Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America, outlining the crisis and showing how the church has failed to address it — but also providing specific solutions to fix it. “Endgame” refers to the crumbling of marriage. 

 

Co-author J.P. De Gance, a Catholic who came from the political sphere working for Americans for Prosperity, pioneered a marriage relationship project called Culture of Freedom — later rebranded as Communio —  which had tremendous results. He launched it in several cities, working with churches and faith-based organizations. In Jacksonville, Florida, which had dismal marriage rates, divorces fell 24% after the three-year project, which focused on 58,912 couples.

 

Similarly, John Van Epp, an evangelical relationship expert, ran his own Christian marriage relationship service, Love Thinks. In one area in Indiana that he focused on, divorce rates dropped 20% over 10 years. 

 

What the authors found is that churches are lacking in marriage ministry. Three out of four churches don’t provide any substantive relationship courses or resources for married couples. And even though singles make up almost 50% of heads of households, more than 90% of churches don’t have an adult singles ministry. 

 

What should be most alarming for Christians is the decline of relationship health is now the most significant factor in disrupting a relationship with Jesus. This is why church attendance is at its lowest rate ever on record in the U.S., 47%. In 2000, it was 70%. Church attendance is largely determined by one variable — parental marriage. Both children with unmarried parents and divorced parents were equally less likely to attend church.

 

Marriage crumbled because of the decoupling of sex, romantic partnerships and parenting. Today, the majority of couples have sex before starting a relationship. The authors point to online dating as one of the culprits — it’s made it easy to leave a relationship the instant a problem arises, because you can find a new romantic interest right away.

 

They found a correlation between atheism and lack of married parents. Millennials who were the least emotionally interested in attending church were also the least likely to report having a positive relationship with their parents. The 30 most well-known atheists in the world had a defective relationship with their fathers. 

 

Progressives may pretend that Christians are no better off than the rest of the population, but the authors found that churchgoing Christians have sex more frequently and are happier in their sex life than those who don’t attend. While one quarter of couples in church have a struggling marriage, 39% of couples in general do. 

 

Unfortunately, pastors don’t realize they’re not doing a good job in this area. While 93% of pastors counsel couples in crisis, 57% of them do not believe they are qualified enough. A “marriage 911” is lacking in the church. Churches spend lots of money on youth programs, but that’s not helping people stay in church. 

 

The authors say we need to go out into the community to find couples to help, not expect them to come searching and find these services. It needs to be portrayed as something everyone needs, in order not to scare people away thinking it’s only for couples who are on the verge of breaking up, otherwise people will be afraid of the stigma.

 

The authors reveal what works as successful techniques. They teach couples to address problems early on in relationships. It’s a myth that good relationships don’t require work. The “balanced relationship” is an illusion. What is normal in a good relationship is this: About the time a couple feels that they have a routine that is working for them … life comes at them fast. One of the most valuable tasks the authors have couples do is to make a top 10 list of what they think their spouse wants and needs from them.

 

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ) is key to a good marriage. This means both interpersonal, which includes communicating with your spouse, and intrapersonal, the ability to monitor your own emotions and actions. Studies of people doing tasks who have somewhat higher EQs but also somewhat lower IQs than others reveal that the former perform better, shattering our traditional views of IQ. 

 

The authors also emphasize the importance of both skills and virtues. Secular counseling focuses on skills, whereas Christian counseling tends to focus too much on just virtues. Skills include discernment, appreciation and expectation, self-control and commitment. 

 

The authors conclude by saying the church needs to make marriage ministry and relationship outreach normal. Marital problems shouldn’t be left up to social agencies to handle. The secular world is going to continue to disparage marriage and continue the downward cycle that the misnamed, so-called “free love” brings, so the church has to step up and stop the leak in the dam. 

 

 

  

 

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Faith

Seek Out the Good in Others

If you try, you can find at least one thing admirable in everyone you meet.

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Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Something Admirable

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can actually say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.” Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery?  Guess again.

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You’re on this planet for finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Finding the Good

Try thinking of and listing five people who you may not have a good relationship with but can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write what is good about them. Do they maintain a nice garden? Here are some ideas for you in case you’re drawing a blank. This person…

* Is kind to the receptionist at work.
* Turns assignments in on time, and hence, supports the team.
* Walks softly past your office, so as not to disturb you.
* Greets you in the morning when you arrive.
* Maintains his or her office well.

Away from work, here are some ideas for finding the good in others:
* Keeps the street in front of the yard free of debris.
* Is respectful of others’ needs for quiet.
* Dresses well.
* Has well-behaved children.
* Drives safely in the neighborhood.

If you try, you’ll find something good!

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