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Friday, August 17, 2012

Frenzied Parenting

Which came first the chicken or the egg? The rooster, obviously.

Now, which came first the wedding or the first child? Almost always the answer is the wedding.

Alright, final question. Which COMES first: the marriage or the children?

I hope that you answered the marriage. In many families today that is not the case. The children are seen as the higher priority. You may ask “why is that?” The answer is actually quite simple. Steven Covey spoke and wrote about this throughout his life. He called it the Time Management Matrix. There are four quadrants in this matrix: important and urgent, important and not urgent, urgent and not important, and not urgent and not important. There is a picture of it here as well as a very detailed explanation of the four quadrants and examples of things that could fall into each one of them. In our example children would definitely be in one of the important categories, but which one? In my experience children also impress a sense of urgency on those around them. Whether it is simply that they want something NOW or that they grow up so quickly there always seems to be a sense of urgency surrounding them. As human beings we often tend to focus on the urgent and neglect everything else. Sometimes this is okay. For example, if your child falls out of a tree and runs into the house with a broken arm. This would be the time to definitely focus on the child, regardless of what you had planned. However, Covey explains that in order to accomplish our long term goals and objectives (I would say that marriage and staying in love should be one of them) we must be sure to spend time in quadrant two: important and not urgent. We can put off our marriage for years while the children grow but this is neglecting the important and not urgent. Our marriages are of utmost importance. They are the foundation of the family. If they are weak the family will be weak, but if they are strong the family will be as well.

Focus on the important and not urgent, your spouse, beginning today. While the children are undoubtedly important they are not more important than your marriage. Keep it strong. Set one goal today, with your spouse, to put your marriage first. In the long run, you’ll be happy that you did.

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