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My wife and I talk about this one a lot. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustrations of a single moment and lose ourselves. For us, this happens when we’ve given calm instructions continually, and we can’t stand to repeat ourselves one more time. While we know from the Bible that there are certain times anger can be righteous – anger over mistreatment or injustice - I can speak from experience that many times, my anger isn’t righteous. In these moments, I’d do well to remember that “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Also, Paul’s encouragement to “Be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).
Overreacting is a common regret for many parents, as they realize that these routine moments can become benchmarks in the parent-child relationship. They can be things that children never forget.
2. Choosing Work Over Family
“Being too busy” is a common refrain for American parents, who are juggling demanding jobs, hectic schedules, and buzzing phones after traditional work hours. Brigid Schulte, a former reporter for The Washington Post, wrote on this topic of work-life balance in her book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. “I felt like I couldn’t even breathe. I felt like work was totally demanding. I always felt behind, that I wasn’t doing enough. At home, I felt like I couldn’t be the kind of mother that I thought I should be. I felt like I was falling apart at the seams.”
We live in a culture of overwork – one in which most of us are choosing to spend extra time at the office, expend extra effort on projects, or devote additional time being immediately accessible via email or text. Our schedules seem out of control, when in fact, we do have the ability to set boundaries. And, it’s easier said than done, but if a job is taking over your life, perhaps it is time to pray about finding a new one. Work is important. But, family is more so.
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