Some things never change in spite of the lightning-fast paced world in which we live. One thing that has not changed is love. Love is what it has always been. What has changed, however, is the way in which we demonstrate love. Somewhere along the line, we have unwittingly bought into the idea of substitution; exchanging personal time with all kinds of busyness, and equating the giving of stuff with the giving of ourselves.
There seems to be a warped sense of pride attached to our excessive busyness. Perhaps ‘busyness’ makes us feel important and needed. Every human being needs to believe that they count, that they are important, and that they are of value. Ironically, we have been duped by the very thing we have embraced as a tool to make us feel important. The fact is busyness is a thief. It has stolen from us the luxury of time; time to cultivate a wholesome and solid family life that enforces the message of self-worth and importance - meeting the needs of the whole family; spirit, soul, and body.
Another equally destructive thief is materialism; a preoccupation with material gain. The drive to ‘have’ more and ‘get’ more has completely broadsided us; diverting us away from what really matters. The materialism bug has taken an unhealthy and greedy bite out of family life. Excessive ‘getting’ offers only momentary pleasure. In very short order, the new stuff becomes the old stuff, and we need the next fix. The problem is; enough will never be enough. Having it ‘all’ will not heal feelings of loneliness, rejection, insecurity, emotional abandonment, or low self-esteem. Is giving an expression of love? Yes, it can be but it is not a substitute for love.
It takes time, affection, interaction, and much communication to build a healthy home; one that breathes life into the words “I love you”. However, the sad, sad truth is that what we instinctively understand about love and expect from love is not always the reality with which we are faced.
In the case of our children, a lack of our time, attention, nurturing and consideration sends a very hurtful message of insignificance; leaving a child with feelings of resentment and a sense of little self-worth.
God has placed within each one of us the need to belong; the need to give and receive love. If these basic needs are not met, hearts are robbed, emotional upheaval is experienced, and one can become deeply scarred. When a child feels the ‘hurt’ of what is perceived as a ‘love failure’ from within the family, a number of things can go desperately wrong. There can be a tendency toward making ‘love’ and attention happen elsewhere. Kids need their parents. Kids will always need their parents. Children need time with their parents.
As a side-note, no matter how much society manipulates the vernacular in order to accommodate any and all family configurations, nothing can or ever will negate or minimize the profoundly important, God-ordained role of Mother and Father, and this according to the word of God.
We need also to seriously look at and consider the role of technology. Technology does have its place but no matter how far technology advances, and no matter what the latest electronic gadget is, it can never take the place of loving and meaningful time shared between parents and their children. There is a famine in the land but it’s not the lack of food.
There are many ungodly, insidious and dark attacks on the family in the 21st century. I mention only two: busyness and the lust for more. Something has gone wrong; terribly wrong! How far down the slope do we have to slide before someone is willing to admit that the lack of parental presence, time, and interaction is taking a devastating toll on the family and on our young people? What has to happen before we put the brakes on? Is it only when our health or home life spiral out of control due to stress, depression, loneliness, or weariness? Is it only after suicide has stolen from us a member of our family?
Unfortunately, it is only in time and after the fact that the evidence of our mistakes will become abundantly clear. Only then will we realize that ‘busyness’ never was a good alternative to the giving of personal time. Only then will we realize that ‘excess’ really wasn’t what was needed.
I am quite confident that leaning toward the simpler side of life is the answer to greater happiness. Simple time spent with the family has far-reaching benefits that outweigh anything money can buy.
Love is what it has always been. Love is the only thing that gives life meaning.