Family life is always in flux, and sometimes these changes can be subtle, or take place over time. It is easy to say that we all need to achieve balance in our lives, but it can be hard to do-especially when we think balance means spending equal time in each area of life. Mothers can't comprehend how to achieve balance with just one child, let alone three or four. Likewise, career people often feel that they are too busy to achieve balance-that their job controls too much of their time.
Once you know your Core Desires and understand what balance really is, you'll more readily attain it. A balanced life should be the kind of a life where you have achieved a high level of harmony and satisfaction in all areas-at the same time.
A person who seeks wealth at the expense of family relationships, health, or peace of mind is not only not living a balanced life but is being robbed of the great joy to be found in the areas being ignored. The reverse can also be true. People who are so focused on family that they can't-or won't-do what it takes to earn the money needed to support the lifestyle they want are living an unbalanced life. These are people who are so focused on other things that they end up ignoring the most important people in their lives-their families.
You cannot achieve balance by seeing life as a matter of set hours devoted to all areas. By trying to give equal time, you quickly run out of hours. When you do the math, you'll find you sleep about eight hours out of twenty-four. If you work, your job requires at least eight hours, leaving you just eight hours to focus on family, spiritual, and mental well-being. No wonder most of us try to cram so much into the weekends.
Achieving daily-or even weekly-balance is very difficult for most people. However, you can certainly achieve balance over a fifteen- to thirty-day time frame. It is not only possible, but also very rewarding and important. If, in that period of time, you find any of your Core Desires in any area of life unfulfilled, you give them the attention needed to fill that particular cup.
When you are hungry, you eat. When your heart aches or longs for fulfillment in any area, do something about it. Whenever you feel that something important in your life is missing, that's a signal you are overlooking one of your Core Desires.
Balance means that we are getting whatever we want in all areas of life. Living with a deficit for a prolonged period always results in unhappiness, discontent, depression, burnout, stress, and continually thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
Because your children grow up and become adults before you know it, you must make the transition with them-treating them appropriately by recognizing when your job of parenting is over and offering advice only upon request. As your own parents age, you may find yourself in reverse roles. So flexibility, giving, sharing, patience, and forgiveness are all keys to success in long-lasting, bountiful, and fulfilling family relationships.
By Jack M. Zufelt
"Mentor To Millions