The interaction between people is something that is as old as human history. Today, people interact with others in many different ways. We interact daily with such people as the man in line at the grocery store, the bank teller, your coworkers, your boss, your child’s teacher, your friends, your spouse, and your children. Some interactions are momentary and you will never see that person again. Others are more acquaintances. Some people you see daily, such as your coworkers, but you never interact with them beyond the boundaries of work. Other interactions are much more meaningful, such as those with your friends and family, and are more of a relationship. “Careers,” technology, and many of our current interests, hobbies, “needs,” entertainment, and comforts have become so ingrained into our lives and society that we view them as essential – things we could not live without. Most, if not all of these things and pursuits, are recent developments in our history. Throughout history the average person was not concerned about a “career,” but rather providing the true necessities (food, clothing, and shelter) by working. The focus was providing for the family and not what I want to do for a career. There was a common bond – the family.
Most, if not all of these things and pursuits, are recent developments in our history. They are distractions that have cluttered, distorted, and damaged relationships. We are so busy, self-interested, and bombarded with distractions, that our society has become dysfunctional in its relationships. This extends from the child, adult, family, and community. There is a ripple effect. When the family does not relate, then the child is unable to relate, and grows up to be an adult who is unable to successfully relate. This child goes to school, with other children who are unable to relate, and problems begin as early as preschool. And then the schools have to deal with these children.
Our focus, purpose, and priorities in life have changed. Spending meaningful time with our children and families has taken a back seat to our own interests and “needs.” We are all too busy for each other and don’t seem to realize that we are missing what is truly important; each other, relationships, doing things together, listening, enjoying each other’s company, and playing together. These are the things that are truly important. When your kids are grown and your retired from your career, is she going to come visit you because you always bought her the nicest clothes? She is not going to come back and say, “Hey mom, remember the Reeboks you bought me?” She might say, “Hey mom, remember how every Friday night we would play games and eat popcorn?” I doubt there is a gravestone that says, “He should have spent more time at work.” If you asked people, if they knew they were going to die tomorrow what would they do today, chances are they would say something like, “I’d spend it with my family.” They would not say, “I’d go to work.” And if most people would say this, then why isn’t the relationships with our families and children the priority in our life? Remember the saying, “Where your treasure is, there is where your heart is.” What do you treasure most? As a school psychologist, I often hear parents say, “I have to work so much for my family.” Or, “Both of us have to work for our kids.” Is this really true? Or is it a matter of what you want and not really what you need? Do you have to have the career or job that keeps you away from your family so much? What if spending time with your family had to be a priority? What if a doctor told you that you had one more year to live? Would you find ways to spend more time with your family and children, or at your job? Then why isn’t time with your family and children a priority now?
What do you want to be remembered for? This can be a very touchy and sensitive topic to discuss. Five or ten years after you have retired, will you be remembered at your place of employment or by future employees? And how much does it really matter anyhow? This is a touchy topic because people put so much value and importance in their careers or jobs. Shouldn’t our children and grandchildren remembering us be more important? If we invested more effort and concern into our relationships with our family and children, then our legacy would be treasured memories and wonderful stories, which will live on for generations.