A friend of mine sat down next to me and exhaled an exasperated sigh. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “My family is driving me nuts,” he said.
“Just everything. The kids are in sports and between that and school requirements, my wife and I end up seeing each other in our driveway. We’re exhausted. We fight all the time and honestly, life isn’t any fun right now.”
“So, what are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s anything I can do.”
Now, my friend is a very successful, I mean VERY successful CEO. He makes million-dollar deals every week. This guy has been written up in major financial publications. He solves problems every day. Why couldn’t he solve his problems at home? Because he didn’t realize he already had the skills to do so.
“It’s the same skills,” I said.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“How would you solve this at work?”
“I’d call a meeting and get everybody on the same page. I’d talk about our goals and our calendar. I’d make sure everyone understood their assignments and we’d schedule a follow-up meeting to make sure we’re on track.”
“And why wouldn’t you do that with your family?”
“I don’t know. Well, for one thing our family doesn’t have goals.”
“Then how do you know if you’re being successful? Would you let a department in your business function without goals?”
“So, why does your family work without goals?”
“Where would I find goals for my family?”
“The same way you do at work. Call everybody in and talk to them.”
I saw the same guy a few weeks later. When I asked how he was doing, his face lit up. “You wouldn’t believe the difference. My kids are on task. My wife and I are closer than ever. You are a magician.”
“You did the work, and you had the skills the whole time.”
Nothing happens without intentionality. If you just go with the flow, everything goes downhill. Nothing gets better.
So, how do they get better? You call a family meeting. Gather your spouse, your children — if they’re old enough – and a calendar and you work out your family plans.
You answer the question of why you are a family in the first place. What are your goals as a family? To raise Christ-centered children? To serve the community?
How are you doing achieving those goals? What needs to be changed? Added? Let go?
We all have these skills. We just never apply them to our families. The funny thing is our families need these skills more than anything else. The anxiety due to poor planning, the disrespect of each other’s time and priorities causes untold pain and wounds that end up taking years to heal.
Sit down with your family. Work through your priorities and strategies. Go over your calendar and make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them. And yes, set the time for the next meeting. You’d be amazed how smoothly your family life will go when everyone is pulling in the same direction.
And you already have the skills to do it.