Putting Family First
I once knew a man who spent his life working and trying to provide for his family. More than anything, he wanted to be successful. In his mind, that meant making a lot of money and having material things to show for it - nice house, new car, expensive suits, cash in hand.
Because he worked all the time, he rarely had time for his family, and when he was home, he carried the pressures of the job with him. He didn't have much to say, but he could lose his temper without warning and send his children running to their rooms. To escape reality, he sat in front of the television every night and lived someone else's life.
When things didn't go his way, he'd complain about how ungrateful everyone was. After all, he was working hard to give them everything they needed, wasn't he? It sure wasn't that he enjoyed working. He wanted to be home with his family, but in trying to give them everything he missed as a child, he had to work. Why couldn't everyone see that?
Years later he lost the job he'd had while his children were growing up. These empty days gave him time to think and when he thought about everything he'd given for that job, he was mad. He was mad at the company, and he was mad at himself for being such a fool. He thought of all the things he had missed with his family. Birthday parties, games, activities, and just time. For years he felt he was making sacrifices for his family; now he realized that he had actually sacrificed his family. In his absence, he had lost their affection and they had basically learned to live without him. If he could have gone back in time and done things differently, he would have gladly done it, but unfortunately, the past is over and gone, and the only time we have to make changes is today.
Little children are forgiving and if you recognize that you've made some decisions that aren't good for your family, then do something about it today. You won't change overnight, but by putting your family first, you will begin to see a change in attitudes all around. If your children are grown, it may take more than a simple apology and vow to do better. You're going to have to show them that you've seen the light and that you're serious about being there for them.
You may want to pull your family together and tell them what you're feeling. Tell them you realize you've made some mistakes but you want to make things right. Let them know you want to be a part of their lives. It will help you to say the words and it will help them to know that you realize it. When I was growing up, my father would have died before he ever admitted that he made a mistake. Unfortunately, he did pass away at the age of 51, and all of us were left to deal with unresolved issues.
I've always believed that the best work we will ever do is right here in our own homes. Too many times we seek for the riches of the world when the true treasures are those little ones who want nothing more than to feel that they are loved. Years from now your children won't place any value on the gifts you've given them, but they will remember the time you spent together.
© 2005 Joyce Moseley Pierce
Joyce Moseley Pierce is a freelance writer, publishes the Family First weekly ezine, and pushes preparedness beyond food storage. Visit her site, http://www.emersonpublications.com/ to register for the newsletter, to read past issues, to order her book, All They'll Need to Know, or just to learn more about how you can protect your loved ones.