Imperfect Family Life
by Charlotte Siems
One thing that’s true for all families is that life isn’t perfect. We can’t smooth everything out as easily as ironing a shirt. Work schedules, financial pressures, issues with children and much more require decisions on the part of parents.
Those decisions relate not only to adjustments and working with what you have, but also to the attitude you’re going to have about your circumstances.
Recently a married couple asked me about how to work their schedule around the husband’s shift work. We talked about the hours that changed every four days and the difficulty of keeping the children quiet so Dad could sleep during the day.
During the conversation, the wife tried to think of ways to create the best atmosphere for her husband’s sleep needs. Meanwhile, the husband would interrupt with comments that he could sleep through their noise, and he didn’t want them to feel stifled to stay quiet.
We all agreed that there was no perfect solution and that their situation would require constant adjusting and shifting. But most of all, I was struck by their mutual attitude of honor for each other. They were both trying to do what was best for the other person.
I pointed out that no matter what solutions they found, their children would grow up remembering that Mom and Dad loved and honored each other. They would look back with fondness on the times that their mother reminded them that they needed to let their father sleep because he worked hard for the family.
With that atmosphere in the home, a constantly changing schedule and inconvenient arrangements will be a minor complication. The attitude is what their children will catch, not the perfect answer for their schedule. All is not lost if the love and respect shine through.
No matter what family situation we’re dealing with, our daily attitude is what our children are watching. Better an imperfect schedule lived with an attitude of love and cheerfulness, than rigorous efficiency with a cost of aggravation and disappointment.
Life will never be perfect. Schedules will never run perfectly. Just when you think you have it all figured out, life will change. But living that life with grace for yourself and others will smooth out the wrinkles.
Often what we’re so stressed about today doesn’t even matter by next week. What does hang around is the damage to relationships and memories caused by our negative attitude and words. Be sure to keep the big picture in mind while you’re ironing out the details to deal with your circumstances.