Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Money often costs too much.” What has the pursuit of money cost you lately? Your son’s birthday party? Your daughter’s piano recital? It’s much easier to be rich monetarily than to have a rich family life. And we all know which is far more important.
If money is costing you and your family too much, consider cutting back on luxuries or even finding a new vocation. Give your kids what money can never buy—treasured time with you. Here are 10 ways the pursuit of money can mess up your family life.
1. Broken Promises
In order to climb the corporate ladder, claim that extra bonus, or gain favor with the boss, we often choose to sacrifice so much along the way. A string of broken promises usually lies in the wake. “Dad, you promised you would be there.” Almost nothing can make a man feel lower than seeing the disappointment in his child’s eyes while his child says those words. Let your word be your bond. If you make a promise to your child, keep it.
2. The Parentless Child
You work longer hours for more money to get more things. Morning time is a blur. Dinner isn’t at a table but is quickly wolfed down while rushing to evening practices. By bedtime, everyone is exhausted and had little time together. If this is how your family’s life looks, how are the children being molded and shaped—and by whom?
3. Missing the Small Things
When I had my first child, my father gave me his best advice for parents: “Don’t miss the small things.” It took several years to figure out what he meant. As parents, we tend to put emphasis on the big moments, but life really happens during everything in between. These moments are the bricks for a strong family foundation.
4. The Materialistic Child
When family existence revolves around money, children tend to be materialistic. Money becomes the family religion. When you held your newborn girl in your arms, you dreamed many things for her. Those dreams probably didn’t include her screaming at you for the credit card or demanding a brand new BMW on her 16th birthday.
5. Disregard for Those in Need
The house is filled with unused stuff. Meanwhile, just down the road, a child has nothing. Wealth should be shared by generous hearts that see a need and offer a solution. A heart that loves money at the core has great difficulty giving things away. To be a successful family, you need to be able to embrace generosity.
6. Loss of Sleep
Time is money, right? Who needs sleep? We give up many things for more money, but first to fall is generally sleep. The first advice most parenting articles give is to make sure everyone gets the proper amount of rest. Sleep is essential to our health and happiness. The pursuit of money is relentless. The man pursuing money usually pursues it with blurry eyes and a yawn.
7. Stressed to the Max
Money worries create high levels of stress. Stress is highly detrimental to your health. It can cause an unpleasant demeanor toward your children. Money is at the root of more divorces than any other factor. That’s something to think about.
8. One-Trick Pony
The man obsessed with money is generally one-dimensional. Life is about experiences and the wisdom gained from them. You can talk all day about the market, but can you hold an intelligent conversation on any other subject? Even if you can, you will quickly grow bored and guide the conversation back to your comfort zone.
Sometimes we use the need for money as a justification for escape from stressful family situations. As an example, a man with a child with special needs may use the real problem of education costs as a justification to work extra hours to meet the need. The reality is that he could make other adjustments to absorb the additional costs, but it is a convenient way to run from the issues. Choosing to be gone more is an escape, not a solution.
10. The Company We Keep
The people we surround ourselves with have an enormous influence on the types of parents we are. Generally, when money is at the forefront of our existence, we surround ourselves with like-minded people. Consider the company you keep. When you begin to surround yourself with high-quality, well-rounded people, you will begin to see your own life take the same shape.
Sound off: What are some other ways the pursuit of money can mess up a family?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is something we can give up for a better family life?”