balancing family and friends

Family Night or a Night Out with the Boys?

“The strength of a nation is derived from the integrity of its homes.” – Confucius

We only get this one shot at being a dad.

We only get this one shot at being a dad. There are no do-overs in parenting. It’s all permanent. So when it comes to balancing family and friends, it’s important to carefully consider your priorities.

It is healthy to have friends and time out to relieve stress. This is not an article condemning men from ever going out with their buddies. The problem is when it becomes routine and takes away our chances to spend those critical moments with our kids. The average dad spends many hours at work. If you add in the time spent commuting, working out, or running personal errands, how much quality family life is really occurring? You will miss those moments where inside jokes are made that nobody else understands or random events turn into lifelong memories. Intimacy begets close bonds, and close bonds are the strength required for a family to weather the storms that will surely come.

A good test of where your time is being spent is to look at the pictures on your cell phone. What story are they telling you? Do they show a family man or something entirely different? In this article, we will look at the most important traits of a healthy family and how the effects of balancing family and friends help or hinder those traits. 

Family Relationships

Family harmony is highly dependent on stability and consistency. Each member of the family, in order to thrive, has to have a reasonable expectation of behavior from the others. Dads set that standard. If the standard being set is that dad is hard to find in person, then it is reasonable to expect harmony to be non-existent.

Togetherness

Tight families form bonds that go beyond the great inside jokes and fun memories. In the life cycle of every family, there are going to be storms that will test the quality of the fabric holding it together. A poorly-constructed family life is going to crumble when the hard winds start blowing in earnest. Parenting requires hands on leadership. Dads cannot delegate away their role and expect a rock solid foundation to remain in place.

Communication

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker. This high level of awareness can only be achieved one way–by being present with your family. Knowing your wife and children so well that you can troubleshoot an issue before it even becomes one.

Commitment

Where do the true priorities reside? Being a dad and/or a husband is humbling and hard work. It’s not difficult for a man to take refuge in the bar, the golf course or all the many distractions that can be found. Each time he does he’s leaving the family wide open to other influences out of his control. It is critical to take a hard look at where our priorities truly are. Family or escape?

Respect

Most parents demand respect from their children. It’s the natural order of things. Yet, we all know that true respect can only be earned. How is a child to learn respect when they don’t feel it in return? Children are extremely intuitive and they know full well when we don’t really want to be there. The moment a boy wants to play catch with his dad and instead winds up alone playing a video game can’t ever be erased from time. It can only be mended by respecting the relationship and changing our priorities.

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Huddle up with the family tonight and schedule a weekly family night.

 


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