Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Effect of Overwork on Children

Today we read of many teenagers who roam the streets and get into trouble because they are too free after school. At the age when they need attention most and are trying to discover who they really are, they are left on their own and so they drift to the wrong people and learn the wrong values. Imagine the children coming home, looking forward to spending time with mom and dad. However, dad’s brought a whole briefcase of work home again and mom has a meeting with her colleagues again. The children get to spend their quality time with the maid instead in front of the TV or with the Sony Playstation. James Dobson once said this “crowded lives produce fatigue, and fatigue produces irritability, and irritability produces indifference and indifference can be interpreted by the children as lack of genuine affection and personal esteem.”

One biblical example of a good leader who failed to raise his children well was David. He became king over Israel at the age of 30 and made a great king. He won all his battles, reunited Israel and brought prosperity. However, in the second half of 2nd Samuel, we see a lot of dysfunction in his family. His oldest son Amnon rapes his own stepsister and David does nothing. After 2 years, Absalom takes justice into his own hands and kills Amnon. He escapes and years later he returns home but David refuses to see him. The rejection causes Absalom to rebel years later and David is forced to flee into exile. A writer once said that all this happened because David spent too much time at the office. What we see here is parental neglect. The failure to instill godly values leads to the rape of Tamar. There is also failure to rebuke and discipline Absalom’s murder of Amnon. The failure to cultivate a loving and respectful child-parent relationship leads to Absalom’s rebellion. David was just too busy at work and he reaped a harvest of bitter fruit because of the little time he sowed with his family.

In conclusion, I think we all agree that family should have a higher priority than work. The problem is in applying it because that demands sacrifices like career adjustments. We may have to give up that fast track we are on. We may have to work less overtime or maybe even get a new job. We have to overcome our pride and ambition to resist the lure of more money and accolades. There is a good chance we may earn less when we make this choice.

However, I also think there is a promise of a richer life to it. I believe those who align their vision of what success is with God’s vision of success will have a happier and more stable marriage. They will have a closer relationship with their children and they will have more time to nurture and train them. I am also very sure they will find little to regret in their twilight years.

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