The Insanity Of “Swallowing An Ocean” As A Family!


“The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment.” Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children’s smoking, drinking, or using drugs. There is inspired wisdom in this advice to parents: What your children really want for dinner is you.” (Dalin Oaks, GC, Oct. 2007)

Dallin Oaks presented his talk “Good, Better, Best” more than fifteen years ago. This is a talk that was long in coming and, unfortunately, I believe, short in remembering by families and local community and church leaders. Oaks quoted other men and women of wisdom who have forewarned us regarding the over-scheduling of our families. His point was that just because something is “good” doesn’t mean it is the “best” use of our time. As a young father, I wanted my children to be involved in activities that would be healthy for them mentally, spiritually, and physically. However, I remember one summer I had my four sons in seven baseball leagues and I was also coaching one of them. By the end of the season, my wife and I were so exhausted that I remember wanting the teams to lose to stop the insanity of it all. We sacrificed a lot more than family dinners together by registering our boys in so many leagues. I also remember that it was one of the few times I saw my wife cry from the stress of trying to support all the “good” programs our kids were in. While it was ‘good’ to be in the leagues, I think with a little more insight; I should have done the “better” or “best” thing by pulling back, putting less stress on the family, and enjoying more time together as a family.

Where do certain activities rate on our scale? Are we spending time doing good things when we could be doing something better, or maybe best? Dalin Oaks remarks on time management are wonderful when it seems like we are trying to swallow an ocean with our mouths wide open!

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