Family Feeling Busy? Try This Question

Kara Powell | Feb 17, 2015

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.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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