Written By: Ryan Law, PhD, AFC®, CFP®
It has been an unprecedented time for our country and the world, and it certainly has been for AFCPE as well. I am grateful to be part of any organization that practices what it preaches. AFCPE is on solid economic ground and we will come out of this stronger than we were before.
Instead of focusing on the political, social, or economic challenges being faced by many, I want to focus instead on something I have heard called “The Great Pause.”
Our lives can be fairly chaotic. We have 5 children ranging from 3-16 years old, and our kids are involved in choir, musicals, church activities, and driving lessons (for our 16-year old), among other things. This Summer my older children were supposed to have a choir tour, a 4-H camp, and two church camps. My wife, Traci, and I say busy with work and running the household. You all know what this is like – we tend to get busy and sometimes, as Stephen Covey said, “get lost in the thick of thin things.”
And then COVID-19 hit. Our country, and most of the world, went into pause. Going to work paused for many. Going to church paused. Choir paused. Musicals paused. Committees paused. Camps paused. Travel paused. Going to school paused. It truly was The Great Pause.
A typical day now consists of everyone doing homework (or work) for a while and then the kids play while Traci and I do some additional work. The kids head outside, or bake something, or play a game, or go for a bike ride, or set up a blanket fort. Traci and I will go for a nice, long walk where we just talk, and we often meet and connect with neighbors who are also out with their families.
After work (or on breaks) I might throw a Frisbee with my son, or play basketball with my daughter, or read to my 3-year old, or play MarioKart with the kids. We might get out Uno, or Ticket to Ride, or a puzzle to do together.
Eventually, things will return to “normal.” That’s the goal, right? Flatten the curve, spread out how quickly the virus spreads to not overwhelm the health care system, and then return to normal. I don’t know if that will be this Summer, or Fall or later, but eventually we figure this virus out and things return to normal.
But I don’t know that I want things to return to normal. Busy. Rushing around. No time to connect. No time to be together as a family. I have always believed that, “no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Nothing is more important to me than spending quality time with my family like I have been the past few months, but I get caught up in the “thick of thin things” all the time. It can be easy to be short-sighted. There is an immediate payoff for sending one more e-mail, or grading one more assignment, or agreeing to one more interview. Don’t get me wrong – all of those things have their place, but it is easy to let them creep out of their allotted space and into family time.
As we come out of this crisis I would encourage you and me to allow things back in slowly. Intentionally. Deliberately. Choose consciously what will be allowed back in. Make time for Frisbee, and baking, and Mario Kart, and walks, and basketball. Make time for what truly matters most.