The divorce rate in the United States is at an all time high – 50% and climbing. For married couples, the busy world around them and the drive to be successful can be both rewarding and detrimental to their relationship. If that issue were not enough, children within the family structure are facing greater societal pressures and visual/auditory simulations than ever before. From images and videos on the web to television and online streaming accounts, the standards of moral living and what accepted behavior is, which should be taught by the parents are being contradicted by these outside influences.
The argument can be made (and rightly so) that it is the parent’s duty to monitor and regulate the “data” consumption of their children yet all too often parents are either too busy working or have little to no interest in correctly parenting their children. This is just one danger that threatens families today. A sociological description of this is summed up in the phrase: “if you want to change society tomorrow you must teach the children of today!” The question is, who is teaching our children if the parents are not?
4 threats that will flatline the family:
1 Societal Pressures: As mentioned above, who is teaching our children and what sort of influences are we allowing to infiltrate our homes? Sometimes these influences seem innocuous yet just beneath surface there looms a greater threat which could potentially disrupt the teachings of the parents. I don’t wish to sound like an alarmist or fire the danger flares without a clear sign of danger but parents be aware of what you allow your children to see, hear and do while they live in your home. You have the greatest power to mold and shape your children, don’t let these outside influences disrupt or distort the godly principles that you are displaying and teaching them!
Parents, this is a warning to all of us. Do not let your work and your job become all that you do! Your first ministry and profession is to be a good parent! This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work, but rather prioritize your schedule where possible in order to be there for your children. The threat of “busyness” can be translated by your children to mean that they don’t matter to you, they are less important than your work, and this is how they should in turn become parents to their children in the future.
Do you remember the old song “Cats in the cradle”? In the chorus there’s that haunting lyric:
“When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”
And the song goes on and the son becomes just like his Dad and never has enough time because he is always busy.
Spend time with your children. Don’t let this threat flatline your family and your relationships to your children! Someday, if we allow the busyness to consume us, we will come to regret all of the broken promises and unfulfilled plans that never happened because we never took the time.
This might get personal, am I stepping on anyone’s toes yet? Good!
This whole “keeping up with the Jones’” needs to end in our homes! We run the risk of becoming so “stuff” focused that we lose sight of the precious relationships we have right in front of us. God gave us these living and breathing miracles to watch over, to teach and to love, and if we are so consumed with “stuff” what will our children see and want to become as well? There are some things we absolutely need in this life, but then there are those things that we crave and desire and even covet. Has materialism become an obsession in your household? There is no doubt that in our media saturated world the “tech craze” has perpetuated our wants over our needs. It has driven people to spend beyond their means and even at the risk of their families and livelihoods. If we have become obsessed with stuff, not only do we run the risk of our kids following close behind us in our footsteps but perhaps we have removed God from His rightful place as well. Does materialism rule you? Beware of this family threat that could flatline your family. Perhaps this threat may not flatline you right away, but gradually over time it has the propensity to wreck havoc in your lives and the lives of your children.
4. Financial Pressures:
One of the biggest threats to marriages today falls within the realms of finances. Some of these financial pressures are interconnected with the third threat of materialism. Families dream of buying that bigger or better house only to find that they have a bigger and harder mortgage to pay per month. Financial pressures build and create fissures within the marriage relationship. Married couples have to then work harder and slave over longer hours to help pay for the financial mess they find themselves in. Along with the housing pressures come the credit card pressures (I’m beginning to sound like Dave Ramsey now). Credit cards can be useful at times but it can also perpetuate this never ending cycle of debt in some and the dependence on borrowing money that we do not posses to pay off. “At the end of the second quarter 2013, there was approximately $850 billion in outstanding revolving debt, mainly credit cards.” (Source: http://www.credit.com/debt/five-shocking-credit-card-debt-statistics/)
Here’s another credit card statistic: “the average credit card balance per consumer was recently reported to be $3,779″ (Source: http://www.credit.com/debt/average-credit-card-debt/)
Many families are living from pay check to pay check and at times have become enslaved to their credit card debts because they have overspent and lived without a backup plan and/or financial understanding of realistically “living within their means”. This isn’t a discussion about poverty or the rich vs. the poor, this is a discussion about understanding how dangerous credit cards and debt in general can be on the family structure. Financial pressures can be inherited and taught just as moral principles of living can be taught. This doesn’t mean that all children will emulate their parents all the way into financial woes but certain habitual traits within finances can leave unhealthy blueprints for our children’s future.
Get out the paddles and jump start the family heart:
Spend quality time with your family! Regulate and filter what your children watch and hear in a media saturated world! You are the parent so take the time, live like it and share your love and passions (those things that matter) with your family! Don’t let these threats flatline your family, instead jump start your crew by intentional time and care! Plan creative family events. Do a family movie night. Talk around the dinner table. Invest in your children and in what they love to do. Go to their school events when you are able! Show up, don’t merely attend! The family is your first ministry. From your home stems all other avenues of God’s love for the world around you! Don’t let your family flatline, it’s far too valuable to lose!
-Just another thought to ponder.