It is not easy being a family today. Especially not in a world where the popular mantra is "busy is better."
Kids are overscheduled. Parents are overscheduled. Even senior citizens are overscheduled. Good luck getting a retiree on the phone the first time.
We are all overscheduled and the insane part is we brag about it.
"How you doin?"
"Busy. Really busy."
"Great. Me, too. Busy. Really busy."
"Wanna do lunch?"
"Sure! How's next year look for you?"
Family members are running in so many different directions that a lot of our homes look like a Holiday Inn Express. We run home to eat, sleep, shower and grab something from the breakfast buffet as we run back out.
There is a lot of talk about what we need as a country today. Sure, we need jobs, we need to reduce spending, and we need to vote a lot of the bums out. But we also need to focus on a firebox right under our noses our own families.
The family is the single most important economic and social building block of any society. The well-being of our communities and our nation depends on the well-being of families -- each and every one of them. We can never be stronger as a whole than we are as our parts.
Schools, coaches, youth group leaders and mentors can have a great influence on children, but the most profound learning experiences will always be in the home and the most influential teachers will always be parents.
The family is the first school for learning civility -- common courtesies like please, thank you, how to share, hold a door, and show respect for one's self as well as others. The family is where children are first socialized, taught how to say hello, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake. By watching and listening to parents, children learn whether it is acceptable to marginalize someone because of their race, be belligerent to a teacher, or smart off to the police.
Children form their first thoughts about marriage in the home whether it is a noble institution founded on mutual respect and loving companionship -- or a verbal cage fight to be avoided at all costs. When a mother and father treat one another with kindness, it's a bit of an insurance policy that their kids might grow up and do the same. And when a mom and dad argue or disagree, children learn something else important what conflict looks like (every family has it), how to manage it, how to resolve it and how to get over it.
The family is the catalyst for cultivating the life of the mind making decisions on whether to park in front of a droning television for hours, or opt to use your own imagination and creativity.
The family is where children learn about faith, prayer and the Creator. In the family, children learn about character and what it means to possess integrity when no one is looking.
The family is a microcosm of our financial institutions as well. Personal spending habits don't descend from Wall Street. Ideas on spending and saving, debt, credit cards and borrowing originate in the family. Ideas about entrepreneurship also often start in the home.
We are all busy taking care of business, but are we taking care of the business that matters most?
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