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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.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: A Nation of Unsung Heroes

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

A Nation of Unsung Heroes

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The movie, Unsung Hero, is not only a great movie. It’s a movie that captures the struggle and hard-earned survival and eventual success of millions of Americans who have had to overcome struggles to earn their own American Dream. For two centuries, Americans have been known for their resourcefulness and resilience, and we are not done yet!

We are again living in difficult and challenging times. Surveys suggest that nearly 60% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Their solutions to their plight won’t be coming from politicians in Washington. Their success, as always, depends on their will and resourcefulness in overcoming daily obstacles, their ability to survive on limited resources, their scrounging for work that allows them to survive another day, and help from those who care.

That common but heart-rending struggle is conveyed in an inspiring way in Unsung Hero. The film focuses on the early struggles of the Smallbone family in the early 90’s. We watch as David Smallbone’s once-thriving music business as a concert promoter in Australia falls apart. They lose their home, their car, and their life’s savings. With no opportunities in Australia, David moves the family halfway around the world to Nashville to secure the only job he could secure. After missed flights and a long and tiring journey to Tennessee, David learns that his promised job had been given to someone else.

As their dreams fall apart, you watch as the steady faith and creativity of Helen Smallbone, played by Australian actress and mother Daisy Betts, pulls the family through one setback and challenge after another to find a way through. With six children and another on the way, every member of the family is challenged to do their part to keep them afloat. They do yard work, any work that would fill their jar of savings. They couldn’t let it be empty, and they didn’t. They kept finding a way.

They were Australians with no friends, no family, no car, sleeping on beds made out of clothes. To nurture their faith, they began attending a local church. Aware of their needs, church members found ways to help in any way they could. In a foreign country living in a city with over half-a million people, it took finding a loving faith community who cared enough to help. Watch the movie, to find out the rest of the story. Bring plenty of tissue and be ready for a few tears along the way.

America needs this movie right now. Why? Too many people are feeling hopeless in the face of growing inflation and lost jobs. They face frustrating obstacles and enormous challenges, and the answer is summed up by a quotation of Mother Teresa shared in the movie, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Luke Smallbone, the producer of the film, acknowledged the importance of that truth, “That is really the heartbeat behind the film.” It is also the local solution that has always helped Americans find their way through-the power of family and the presence and support of their local “family of God.”

Washington may send you money, but they can’t provide the flexible and persistent support needed. It’s one’s local family, friends, and faith communities who can encourage resilience and help shape a needed recovery. Solutions come from a local community’s caring and support. It used to always be that way, and it needs to be that way again.

Our nation is full of unsung heroes who are helping their family and friends, and they are more needed than ever. If you don’t have anyone helping you, stop looking to Washinton for the help that will never come no matter who is elected President. Get involved again in your family and your community. Call your family and let them know you need help. Get back involved in your church or synagogue and let God work through them to help you get back on your feet. Investing in community is an adventure that allows you to help and be helped to the glory of God and country.

When you get involved, you most likely will not make any headlines. That is left for terrorists, violent demonstrators, and other disasters and threats out of your control. But America is strong because of millions of unsung heroes who make it all work and seldom get acknowledged. This column is dedicated to you. You deserve to be honored and applauded for all you have done and will do to keep America the country it has been and must remain. May it continue to be so in your adventure!

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Elections

Let’s Reclaim America’s Optimism Advantage

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On this New Year’s Day, America needs more than a parade and great football games; our people need renewed optimism in living our American Dream. Instead of looking for government fixes or some magical new president who will make things right, we need a kick in the pants to get busy making America work no matter what obstacles we face.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared what he considered the secret of his success as our President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.”

Oh, how we need leadership like that in America today. As we start this year, too many people feel powerless. Inflation may be coming down, but high fuel and food prices have taken their toll on far too many Americans. Watching the invasion on our Southern border means too many of our cities are being overwhelmed with no end in sight. We wonder if there is anything we can do but watch. The sense of despair and helplessness is contagious, but so is optimism. What attitude do you spread?

There is more than you think within your control. Every day, you make choices to make your situation better or worse. Studies of optimism find that optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles. If you have had obstacles the last few years and are still making it work, pat yourself on the back. Be a proud survivor, not a victim so many seem to take pride in claiming to be.

Make each day count by starting your day doing one thing to make your situation better. Find one way to cut expenses. Find a way to increase your resources. Make a call or visit to nurture your network of colleagues and friends. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Nurture your faith realizing that God gave you gifts and give thanks every day for the blessings you have. Lest you forget, you’re blessed to live in America. People risk everything to come here, and few want to leave.

Yes, this is an election year, and it would sure be a gift to have a leader who would nurture the hope and optimism of all our citizens. So as the campaigns progresses and you listen to potential leaders vying for your support, ask yourself a few key questions:

Do they want to control your choices or ensure your freedoms?

Do they want to make you more or less dependent on government?

Do they want to increase the size of government and entitlements and the taxes needed to fund them or decrease them?

Do they want to force your children to go to public schools that don’t’ get the results your children deserve, or are they willing to give you the freedom to pick the schools your children need?

Do they disagree with their opponents and state why, or do they demean them and call them names?

Do they want to grow the size of government and its debt, or do they want to decrease both?

Do they believe in the citizens they represent, or do they convey that they are the answer to America’s future?

Do they take responsibility for their mistakes and actions or quickly deny responsibility and blame others?

No President is perfect. It’s easy to promise and a lot harder to deliver. Reagan focused on three things: an optimism based on free-enterprise innovation, smaller government, and lower taxes. He delivered on all but smaller government. As Reagan advisor Arnold Laffer confessed, “When it came to cutting welfare payments and school lunch,…it was very hard. Someone would come over and say, ‘How can you cut school lunches?’ Reagan would reply, ‘I guess you’re right; I’ll tell them not to cut that one.’”

The pressure to keep growing government is tempting and easy to understand, but it is not what America was created for. America’s form of government was designed to protect citizens from an over-controlling, over-taxing government. We need to reclaim that passion for freedom and self-reliance. Our founding citizens wanted the opportunity to pursue happiness, not happiness given to them at the expense of other taxpayers.

The election is months away. So I’m going to borrow on the optimism of Ronald Reagan to inspire us all on this first day of 2024: “I’m not taking your time…to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

Reagan wouldn’t want us to wait for the next election. We’ve had enough of eloquent politicians who think they have all the answers. We need to believe in ourselves and get busy living our own dreams. Then, in November, let’s elect a leader who will stay out of our way and give “We the People” freedom again—freedom to fail, succeed, and thrive in our own American Dream!
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