There are so many precious gifts we wish for, such as peace on earth or peace of mind. But most of what we truly need, we already have. Is time the most precious thing? If so, why do we waste so much of it? Is air the most precious thing? It doesn’t seem so in India, or China where they often have to wear masks to breathe safely. Is water the most precious thing? It may be in Ethiopia or the Sahara, but where it is plentiful, we take it for granted. Food is certainly precious, but only recognized as so by those that have little of it.
Is your life the most precious thing? If so, why do we squander so much of it? Rest, vacations, meditation, hobbies? No, these are good things. By squander, I mean to live without a purpose, a plan, or a goal.
How about health? That surely is a precious thing to have! There are a few people that work very hard to exercise and eat right. On the other hand, advanced societies are becoming more obese every year. Clearly, health may be precious, but using time in other ways than exercise is common, and eating what we like is often favored over eating what is good for us.
Other precious things include gratitude, learning, creating, religion, freedom, or love.
Maybe we can measure what is precious by what we spend the most of our time doing. If you work sixty hours a week is that because you like your job, want more money versus time at home, or are just surviving? It could be any of these or all three. Let’s then say what you do in your free, or discretionary, time will give us an idea of what is precious. But time in itself won’t do this because two hours of reading may be more precious than three hours required of gardening,
By this time, I’m wondering how many of you have a precious thing still running in your mind that I have yet to mention. No, I’m not guessing money. Money can be precious, but money is nothing but a tool, a symbol. Money can’t buy some of the most precious things in the world. Money can actually allow you to forget the more precious things in your life by making them more accessible, but not less important. Maybe love comes close, which I mentioned in passing, because you can’t buy love, not real love.
I’ll tell you what I think is the most precious thing in the world. It encompasses gratitude, love, learning, and creativity. I pray for health, time, peace, money and freedom for this precious thing of mine. It’s family!
Families are not always harmonious, especially within. Personalities and jealousies can cause flare up. But when the chips are down, families will most likely count on each other before anyone else. If not, there is a serious breakdown in that family. One of the most important responsibilities of parents is to teach their children to realize just how precious they are to each other. When parents not only realize their duties, but commit to them in a dedicated manner, their children have one of the most precious gifts they could ever receive.
When one has the precious gift of family, all the other precious things in life are much easier to achieve. Families are, or should be, the core teacher of values such as dependability, loyalty, and trust. A person of values is a valuable commodity in themselves bringing self-worth, confidence, and happiness. A family also has traditions that bring each member a feeling of belonging and joy.
Discounting certain mental health issues, independent of family situations, it would be difficult to imagine a child of an encouraging, harmonious family not having success in life and a plenitude of precious things to enjoy and love. But, you may say, if it were that easy, why is there so much turmoil, violence, grief and sadness? We hear about and/or witness it every day! A consideration is the over exposure of these terrible things on all media compared to everyday life. On the other hand, much sadness is under-reported because it is not sensational enough for someone to profit from reporting it. I think there is something else to consider.
A Family Crisis
There is a family crisis in America! It is clear to me that when social disorder exists, it is primarily caused by the existence of dysfunctional families. Oftentimes, offspring from a dysfunctional family create more dysfunctional families and they grow like a pyramid scheme. There is little likelihood these offspring will aggressively look outside what they know to improve their skills as parents. I wrote a book to help fathers to be real dads. Sadly, fathers who could use these discussions to help them be a better parent are very unlikely to read it!
What we know is*:
- 85% of children with behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes,
- 24 million (34%) children live without their biological father
- Children from fatherless homes are:
- Seven times more likely to drop out of high school
- Eleven times more likely to commit rape
- Seven times more likely to become a teenage mother
- Fifteen times more likely to end up in prison as a teenager
These are just a few of the shocking statistics.
What to do?
My hope is for a wave of family consciousness to sweep the country making it difficult for anyone to escape the discussion of family and family values. This would require more segments on family relations to replace the glut of cooking segments on TV. It would take news programs to shine a light on the real reasons that crime is taking place. It would require social media to emphasize family issues and programs even though celebrity gossip and sensationalism pay most of their bills. It would take schools spending more time on what makes a family work, and yes, fill-in teaching values when families are not doing it within. And, finally, it would take our government entities to not make laws which can incentivize families to not stay together. When US government helps single parent families more than two parent families, it can alter how families react. The answer is to help families, in general, to be precious to and for each other.
We have an issue when families don’t work because it spills out into society. If we never get to that root issue, we will always have excessive societal problems. And most dysfunctional or stressed families lack a father in the home! Yes, families are very precious things.
* From “The Power of Dadhood: Become the Father Your Child Needs”