Indeed, there is no place like home. But sadly, many of our homes have become empty and dysfunctional. Parents have to leave children for a long time to seek for greener pasture outside the country. While this put food on the table, this also takes away the hearty meal that every child so desires.
I cannot imagine my children eating on their own during meals. It is during these times that they ask a lot of questions. And if we were not there, who will answer them? And if indeed someone does other than us, will it satisfy them? Will the answers truly enrich and mold their young hearts and minds?
When parents consult me about their children, they usually rant about how they are having a difficult time with them, and how hard headed they are, and how kids and adolescents of this generation have become so disrespectful and irresponsible.
But in most cases, I always tell the parents that the behaviors of children are reflections of the environment in the house. A family, a home for that matter is a system. And if there is any dysfunctionality in the system, it always manifests in one of its parts.And because children and adolescents are still unable to make sense of the dysfunction, they bear the brunt of the stress and express them as undesirable behaviors.
And so, to the parents’ surprise, instead of entertaining their complaints about their children, I ask them questions about their marriage. How is their level of intimacy? How do they resolve conflicts? How much quality time is spent with one another and with the children as well?
Time and again, I see how the lack of quality time with children and the low level of intimacy between husband and wife become the central characteristic of homes with problematic children.
Like other parents, we are also engrossed in our careers and businesses. Butto us, it is crystal clear that the quality of our relationships, as husband and wife, and as a family, is as important and is as much a priority as other areas of our lives.
Quality relationships require quality time. Last Saturday, I had hiking and mountain climbing with my two boys. And I’m sure they will never forget that episode. Not only was I with them, but I made their fantasies come true. The ones they see on t.v., they actually do with their Daddy.
And yesterday, my eldest baked a pizza with her mommy. He raves about it. And again, I’m quite sure that the quality moment they spent together will be shown in his dealings with his friends and classmates.
Sometimes, I come home to a messy house. Naturally, I get infuriated and who doesn’t? But on second thought, I also realize that it is a great blessing. Because the mess reminds me that my children are still around, alive and well, active and engaged in a place they call home.
Our homes are our responsibility. We need to see that all systems are running and functioning well. And it takes a great deal of commitment and sacrifice. But you can never quantify the results. And one of the bests would be when our children, when they are grown-ups, will always long to see and come back to a place they can always consider home.