Of the 5F’s, which was outlined in a previous post The Next 25, Faith is the one which supports the other four and sustains the balance of the structure called life. That being said, the one I want to lead with is Family. While the significance is obvious, Family is the one “F” where compromises are easily justified, yet the consequences can last a lifetime.
As I glance in my rear-view mirror covering my First 25, I see a guy whose life was consumed by what I did and not who I was. My focus and concern had everything to do with my professional significance and little to do with relational relevance within my own family. While I wasn’t totally disconnected and made all the important dates, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., my involvement in those impromptu family events (most people consider key) was almost non-existent. And when someone approaches life in that fashion an interesting phenomenon surfaces; turn down enough invitations and invitations stop being extended.
No one specifically set out exclude me, but the prevailing feeling was why bother we know what Tom’s answer will be “he has to work”, which translates “we know where Tom’s heart is.” Ouch!
“your windshield is bigger than your rear-view mirror for a reason”
The view I have in my windshield comes from a change of heart and focus which began when I found myself living in a nursing home in the midst of a health crisis. It was during that two-month period when it dawned on me, that no one from work was calling much less visiting. In my eyes where I had invested the most I expected the most, a visit or at the least a call. But the encouragement and support I received in that time of uncertainty came from the group who came second to my career, my family and closest of friends who are like family. This life lesson taught me that not getting the Family component of the 5F’s can carry a cost that no amount of money can repay because what is the value of time spent with loved ones.
And it was in that moment of clarity I vowed never to confuse sacrificing for my family with investing in my family in terms of time.
It comes down to a commitment
You either talk about it, or like Nike says, you Just Do It; and while what I’ve outline below seems so basic, I simply first had to make sure I understood the difference in investing in vs. sacrificing for family and was prepared to be completely intentional in my commitment to them.
-You have to guard your time with your family because everyone else will try to shortchange it – Learn how to say no
-A conscious investment of time is being with them, being off work with the laptop open answering emails is the same as being in the office with a better view – Engage and Interact.
-Instill a closed-door policy – when you close the front door of your home you must make sure work stays on the other side of the door, what you leave on the doorstep will be there the next time you leave for work.
-Give permission to them to call you out if you come up short in some cycles or seasons…..Don’t take it personally, remember this was something you committed to!
Next up is Friends and the role they play in your 5F’s
trusting God period