This chapter was probably the most convicting so far. Even though I am a stay at home mom, who devotes so much of my time at home with the family, even I have a very hard time balancing my family, my friends, my marriage, and my ministry.
Dobson calls this chapter "chasing the caterpillar" because he tells the story of how these processionary caterpillars basically starving themselves to death because they kept going around and around in circles. Even though there were pine needles in the center of the pot, the caterpillars continued walking for seven days without breaking rank (a study a naturalist conducted). Finally, one at a time, they rolled over and died even though they were just inches from their food source!
Have you as a mom ever felt that same type of burden? We, like those caterpillars, march from morning to night at work, chauffeuring kids, cooking meals, cleaning the house, and trying to maintain our dear friendships, ministries at church, extended family obligations, paying bills, doing laundry, doctor's appointments...the list goes on and on. How do we keep up? How do we do it all? And the bottom line question is: How do we spend quality time with our spouse and children?
I also believe that each stage of life presents new challenges that MUST be brought to the feet of our Savior. Meaning: when you have one child that is a very different stage of life, than when you have two or three or more. When you have an outside job and family that is a totally different "animal" than if you are a stay at home mom raising a family. None of our jobs are harder or easier, BUT we do need God in our life to help guide us to make the right choices and set the right priorities.
There is a problem when you can't remember the last time you and your spouse went out for a date (alone without kids!)
There is a problem when you haven't had time to read the Bible because you're too busy.
How about this...can you remember the last time you just sat still and listened to the voice of God?
God doesn't want us to lead these harried lives with no breaks, no quiet time, no time for pure fun. God gave us this life to enjoy abundantly...and that means sometimes the dishes and the laundry will HAVE to wait because it's more important to hold your little one on your lap and read a story!
When was the last time you shared a meal with a friend? Today we had Taco Tuesday with the Wormann's while our hubbies were at an Elder meeting. It was so nice to have dinner with another family of kids ages 6 to 2! Julia and Mark had so much fun and JaneAnn and I got to chit chat and just share our lives with each other. But how often do we do that these days? Everything is scheduled and planned. We have appointments all week long. Isn't it nice to just sit down at a table and talk? How about playing a board game?
Dobson says, "We know our neighbors less, socialize wth friends less often, and even grow distant from our families. We belong to fewer organizations, that actually meet."Dobson goes on to explain how overworked Americans are and it is so true. I know for a fact that once my husband enters his building at work he never takes a break, not even for lunch. He eats at his desk and continues to make calls and create portfolios, and he RARELY takes a vacation day. As a matter of fact on our anniversary weekend he had to leave a day early to go back to NY because the stock market dropped significantly and he had to be there to appease his clients (it was the right thing to do, but I was disappointed at the time).
Dobson says, "We are working ourselves to death."People over seas like Germany, Italy, Canada and Britain take 25 vacation days per year where as Americans rarely take even 13! Is it any wonder that "husbands and wives have no time for each other and many of them hardly know their children?"
When we sleep over their house and take time to visit we can expect to talk, play outside, go for long walks, see a puppet show by Uncle Bill and share a meal and some ice cream with the family. We don't need STUFF, we don't need THINGS, we just spend time and share our hearts. And since my love language is Quality Time it just meets ALL my needs! But that is the kind of family I want to be and have.
Dobson says, "Parents in the US spend less time with their children than those in almost any other nation in the world. The result: No one is at home to meet the needs of the lonely preschoolers and latchkey children."Kids cannot raise themselves. Do we expect them to?
I think the purpose of this chapter to all families is to remind ourselves to stop and slow down and re prioritize our family values. Do we have our kids in too many sports? Are we involved in too many ministries at church? Do we overbook our schedules/calendars? Do we make sure we spend Quality and Quantity time with our kids? Do we make time for date nights?
Slow down....enjoy each other....cherish every minute...and remember how much God loves you that He gave YOU a family to love!
"There should be a way to avoid living in a state of perpetual chaos. It is hard on adults but creates havoc for children. From my perspective, almost anything is better than chasing the lead caterpillar endlessly around the flowerpot." --Dobson