How Can We Get Our Families Back To What’s Most Important?

Dear Dr. Bill,

Do you remember when stores were closed on Sundays, there were no sporting events and families went to church and worshiped?  And how the dinner hour was set at 6 pm and nothing else got in the way?  And Wednesday nights were set aside for church activities?

Am I unrealistic to want all of that back again?  Lately I’ve gotten so tired of so many things pulling our family apart.  Yet, if you want your child to participate in extra-curricular activities, you must sacrifice some priorities.  Is there anything we can do to get back to the basics?


Dear Julia,

You’ve asked a very important question about an issue I care passionately about.  Families are running at a breakneck pace today, and unfortunately even many Christian families are buying into the culture’s notion of what will make us happy.

Every day our culture bombards us with the message that what’s really important in life are things like achievement, success, popularity, power, and physical attractiveness.  But God calls us to a much higher standard.  In God’s economy what’s truly important is developing a loving heart and Christlike character.

Far too many Christian parents focus on making sure their kids make the honor roll, or play on the championship soccer team, or make the cheerleading squad or get into a top college. Those things aren’t bad in and of themselves.  The problem is when they become our chief goal in life.

Instead, our primary focus should be to help our kids cultivate qualities like honesty, empathy, compassion, service, and self-sacrifice.  We should be striving to raise kids who exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit.

A great place to go for advice on this topic is Focus on the Family’s website,

Thanks for writing, Julia.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Click here for the audio version of this article.