Author mug On Faith

Don Eads

Spending time with
family deserves priority

Hawaii's families today are going through a lot of stress. It seems as if our once laid-back island lifestyle has taken on characteristics of the frantic life in Los Angeles. We face daily traffic jams. It seems to costs $200 to fill our car up with gas. Landlords are raising our rents every other month.

It is more and more important to remember that the metaphor we dwell on determines how we view our lot in life. For example, if we say we are "stretched to the limit," how does that make us feel? What if I say instead, "You are about to receive a tremendous blessing." Doesn't that instantly create a much different feeling about the immediate future?

I have worked with the Tony Robbins Foundation here in Hawaii for more than five years. One thing I've learned from Tony is you get what you feel most passionate about. If you are passionate about how messed up things are, believe me, that's how it will be. If you are passionate, on the other hand, about how important it is to instill family values you cherish in your own family, you will make time for that to happen.

If we stop and reflect on where we came from, what impresses us is how our family made it through hard times. I am not talking about financial hard times; I am speaking about life and death challenges. That is how our families get stronger, by sticking together and helping each other through rough times. That is what ohana is all about.

Too often we get so busy we forget why we are doing what we are doing. It is because we love our families that we work at three jobs, burn the midnight oil and never get enough sleep. But it all is for naught if the people we love the most don't feel our love because we are so busy that we don't have the energy to spend time with them.

Do not be one of those families who only get together at weddings and funerals. Do yourselves a big favor this week. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach with your spouse. Plan a special time with your family and show them how much you love them. Take in a beautiful sunset together or take a trip to a neighbor island.

Make a commitment today to simply plan regular quality time with your own family, and do not back down; just say, "I am busy with my family during that time" to other invitations. Stick to it, no matter what.

It takes a familywide commitment to be free at the same time. It does not have to become another pressure in your life. Quality family time should be like breathing. It happens on a regular basis automatically.

If it isn't happening in your family, I encourage you to change your priorities. I encourage you to get your ohana to start its quality time plan today. And I'll see you at the beach!

The Rev. Don Eads of Kamuela, Hawaii, is senior pastor of Aloha Christian Fellowship Hawaii. His family spends part of each year in China, where he teaches in the Foreign Language Department of Peking University. The Eads family is active in the Beijing International Christian Fellowship and Kindling International Ministries.

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