This past Monday I was at a Catalyst One Day event in Atlanta, GA. It was a great day full of great leadership advice but one talk really hit home. I’m a single guy running a nonprofit but this talk helped me understand how to plan my life when I do get married. It was the first session of the day from Andy Stanley entitled Family Matters. Here are a few take away points from his talk.
We wanted to create a family that wanted to be together when they didn’t have to be together
Andy went on to tell a story about how his family went on trips together. Not once have his kids asked if they could bring a friend with them. His family enjoys being together. They do not have to have the kid’s friends to enjoy themselves. They enjoy each other’s company.
Your greatest contribution may not be something you do, but someone you raise
I shouted when Andy made this statement. Too often we hear of stories from the kids of pastors or even leaders who work all the time and neglect their kids at home. We hear of stories where kids go crazy and get involved with activities that the parents would not be happy with. Family first and then work, sometimes saying no at work will save your kids at home.
Pray together at every stage of life
Andy told a story about how they pray every night with their kids. They would all gather in one room and pray together at a certain time. When the kids got older they did stairwell prayers. They would just meet at the stop of the stairwell to pray. Prayer is the key in growing together as a family. There is no better way to bring a family together than to pray.
Prioritize your marriage on your calendar
Andy told a story about a time when he was coaching one of his kid’s baseball team and told the parents, “I won’t be here for the next two games. My wife and I are taking a trip together.” The parents were stunned that they take a trip together without the kids. The parents of the team were saying, “we haven’t taken a trip together as a couple for years.” This is what I got out of this story: anytime people are doing less of something is probably a good indicator of what needs to happen more. Plan trips with your wife every few months. It can only make your marriage stronger.
Nobody at home should feel like they are competing with somebody at work
I don’t remember any of the stories that Andy told about this but this point is huge. Once you start neglecting your time with family for work, you will start to lose their respect and they will feel that you don’t care. I have heard of marriages falling apart because husbands were working more and more and not spending time with their family. Don’t neglect your family for work.
Eat at the dinner table as a family
Andy’s wife loves to cook. He said that 3-5 times a week they would eat together. His wife was in charge of planning meal times around the kid’s schedule. His wife would let the kids know a week in advance of the day and what time they would be eating together. I LOVE THIS! This is something I will for sure do with my family. Quality time with the family is the most important event. You can’t beat food, time with family, and conversations. A night at the dinner table with family is far better than a night at a restaurant.
These are just some of the points from his message. These are the ones that one day I will put into practice with my family. Hope you can use some of these points in your life now or in the future with your family.