Family Feeling Busy? Try This Question

Photo by {.erika.}.

Right before the holidays, I was feeling more busy than usual. More travels. More year-end fund development tasks. More email.

So I asked all three of our kids this question: How are you feeling about my work schedule?

I was fully expecting any one of them to say that I was on too many airplanes, or they were tired of seeing me on my laptop.

Two of them said my schedule was just fine.

The third had a surprising answer—one I never would have predicted.

“I wish you didn’t have 7 am phone calls.”

As part of an 8 week task force for Fuller Seminary, I had a weekly 7-8 am phone call. It’s hard to imagine a time more inconvenient for me as a parent than Monday between 7-8 am, but because of the importance of the task force, I felt like I needed to do it.

It wasn’t the airplanes or the e.mail. It was that one hour every Monday morning. I never would have known that bothered her if I hadn’t asked.

I still did the remaining 3 Monday 7 am phone calls, but I carved out time before each call to be with our kids, especially the one who had mentioned it as problematic.

In our new Family Guide Video Curriculum, we highlight the importance of warm family relationships. More than any tip or trick, family affection and intimacy is a key factor in building long-term faith in our kids. That sort of intimacy can only happen when we have honest conversations with our kids about all sorts of topics. Even our own schedules.

When can you ask your kids how they are feeling about your schedule? Their answer might surprise you.