In these uncertain times of the coronavirus self quarantines, schools have transitioned to online learning. And many of us now work from home.
With two teenagers at home, I’ve encountered more than a few challenges. But just recently, I uncovered one very special opportunity. And what I learned in one lightbulb moment, has transformed my family.
You see, while I’ve been physically present at home, my attention was on my typical work routine while I’d been at the office. And that didn’t bode well for family harmony. Quite the opposite, I found. Chaos at home ran rampant as I sat working on my laptop.
For instance, my son doesn’t do so well without the daily structure of physically attending classes at school. And last week, there were several days in a row where he was still in his pajamas at 11:00 a.m. and he hadn’t yet started his daily assignments. So what did I do? I yelled at him to get started while I sat and “worked.” That didn’t work, of course. My son yells back. Then, before I know it, he’s arguing with his sister, who’s home from college and also trying to navigate virtual classes.
As both kids argue back and forth, I try (unsuccessfully) to keep the noise in the background and focus on work. Then, when I hear the dog barking, I realize he hadn’t been walked. All of a sudden, a familiar saying popped into my mind: Charity begins at home.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, this saying means you should take care of your family and those close to you before helping others farther away. Similarly, according to this post, loving others needs to start with your family. Showing respect for your family and providing for their needs, over your needs, is an act of love, which is “charity.”
I couldn’t help but notice the irony: as I’m working to help others resolve their legal and interpersonal conflicts, my own home is a conflict-ridden minefield.
In that single moment, I decided to make a big change. I clarified my priorities and the importance of making time to nurture our most important relationships. I know how easy it is to feel as if there’s not enough time to spend on this. But I also learned that time allocation to priorities can free up more time to spend on valued relationships with family and friends.
Specifically, I decided that I would schedule work-related activities during specific times of the day when my presence wasn’t required for my family. And I refrained from adding activities for the wrong reasons. I no longer wanted to spend my days doing things that didn’t reflect my values and priorities.
I found these two simple changes not only made me much more productive for my clients and business, it made a world of difference in the way our family functioned throughout the day.
And in these trying times, we need all the help we can get.
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