Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Potential Deadly "Items" In Your House

Everybody pretty much knows about molds, asbestos, viruses and other seen or unseen things that left untouched can make us sick or even kill. A story just yesterday re-visited Legionnaire's Disease, something many of us remember first arriving on the scene some forty years ago. It's still here. People can die simply from air-conditioning units not being cleaned.

But what we often don't think about are the emotional and social molecules that can also be destructive, even deadly, within our own family and home. These actions and ways of responding may seem small and even be unseen by the natural eye, but they can have dramatic consequences.

Let me mention three common ones.

Too high expectations. So many parents these days are requiring their kids be the next Rhodes Scholar, Olympic athlete, college superstar, curer of cancer or famous actress or musician. Most of them would never use those terms (though a few would) but in the back of their minds they really believe their child has that kind of potential.

So they push, taxi, search for the best coaches or teachers, spend their resources and never allow anyone to have a moment off from training, learning, improving and winning. "Michael Phelps didn't," they bemoan. As a result family time dwindles, marriages suffer, church activity and service lessens while parents keep hoping and believing their child deserves the best that they never had. Another medal, ribbon or trophy is to them a badge of courage and of course the opportunity for another Facebook post.

Too low expectations.  This may sound contradictory to my first point but there are also problems with this polar opposite. These parents are happy to let their family just coast through life. They spend most of their time without many goals or dreams or hopes. They plan very little other than to just get by. The TV is on most of the time and their favorite shows are the highlight of their week. They rarely eat together, the kids are allowed to spend most of their time on their pad or video games and there is little accountability of anyone's time, health or money.

Kids who are capable of more are just average students and they all do very little for others. Chances are they are hurting financially because there are so few ground rules and things to work towards so resources are used up foolishly.

Too little emphasis on the things that matter most. I would guess that most parents don't go into family life imagining the kind of life they are now living. Many did have dreams, hopes and goals that they hoped they would someday look back on with great satisfaction and contentment.  Sadly, what most of us don't realize is that those things take work, intentionality and purpose.  They don't just happen.

Perhaps I could have also called this item the problem of inertia.  We just keep going. Even those with high expectations rarely stop long enough to evaluate if their plans are helpful and a good idea.  We let life, circumstances, culture around us and other challenges dictate the final outcomes rather than stay determined to keep certain things within our reach. So instead of relaxing and slowing down, we speed up more. Instead of taking time to teach our kids to love, be honest and enjoy life, we push them to go faster.

Instead of enjoying each other  and making memories we demand that everyone accomplish one more thing and put off the enjoyment for another time. Unfortunately, that other time often never comes. Or if our expectations are low, we say, "Oh, well maybe next year we can get around to that."

You will have to figure out how to keep these unseen "substances" from hurting you and your family but I beg you to not look the other way. Make some changes now, put some new patterns of living in place so expecting too much, requiring too little or missing out on what really matters will never take over and cause emotional harm.

Someday you'll be thankful you made even a few small changes now that you discovered had huge results later!

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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