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Small Changes, Big Impact

This weekend, Pastor Tom talked to us about love languages. I haven't read The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, but I think I'm going to buy it. What an amazing insight into reducing the friction in our interpersonal relationships!

Two things really struck during Tom's presentation. The first has to do with my relationship with my four year old son. I love him dearly, but I realized that while I tell him that with my words regularly, I'm not sure he gets it as effectively as he could. He regularly asks me if I can spend time with him. Sometimes he wants to play, but other times he just wants me to keep him company. For any of you parents with young kids out there, you can probably relate to my typical response: "Sorry bud, I'm busy right now. Maybe in a little bit." I'm going to change that. Do you need to adjust the way you interact with your family?

Second, Tom mentioned that social media is a problematic replacement for our interpersonal relationships. Social media is a topic I'm fascinated with, and I've come across some interesting research that, in my view, affirms what Tom said about its impact when we replace "real" relationships with digital ones. A study conducted in Hong Kong in June of 2004 revealed that offline friendships involve more interdependence, breadth, depth, understanding, and commitment. Talk about five things that are critical to the success of a relationship!

From that reminder, I'm going to start leaving my phone in the bedroom when I get home. Too often I let my phone distract me from my family. If you asked me what I value more, my phone or my family, it is a no brainer! My family would always win in that comparison. But, when I look at how I spend my time, I may not be communicating that to my family.

When my wife and I were going through premarital counseling years ago, our counselor asked us to order things we do in life based on importance. We were in college at the time, so the list looked something like this:

Relationship with God
Relationship with fiancé
Relationship with friends
School
Job

He then asked us to list how we actually spent our time:

School
Job
Relationship with friends
Relationship with fiancé
Relationship with God

Do you see the issue there? It is very easy for us to reach a state in life where we are out of balance. This weekend's message was a fantastic opportunity for me to recalibrate my focus. I have plenty of things to work on this week as I seek to lead my family in a way that honors God. What is something you will be working on this week?