Today’s guest post is by Craig Jutila—an author, coach, international-communications consultant, and president and founder of Empowered Living. Jutila has more than 25 years’ experience of public speaking, and he served as pastor at two churches, including Saddleback Church for 13 years and The Grove Community Church for seven years. His latest book, Faith and the Modern Family: How to Raise a Healthy Family in a “Modern Family” World, offers biblically sound advice for creating strong and healthy families in the modern world—get it on Vyrso today!
If you were to ask me what I think the biggest obstacle facing today’s modern family is, I’d tell you, “too many choices.” Those choices are rarely between good and bad; they’re mostly between good and better. This changes our way of thinking. We say to ourselves, “If one is good, then more must be better,” but that is rarely, if ever, the case.
Parents today are faced with a unique opportunity,
and that’s too much of a good thing.
Too many choices, too little time
Twenty years ago, the pace of life was more predictable because our choices were somewhat limited. As far as sports, we could play baseball, football, or basketball, and that was it. When we went to a movie, we had two options—the movie playing in theater A or the movie playing in theater B.
My family went to the movies last week, and the same movie was playing in four different theaters: one version of the movie was playing with enhanced RPX sound technology, another was being shown in 3D, a third option was the IMAX large-screen experience, and the fourth was to see the movie in a normal room on a normal screen with normal sound and a normal experience. But who wants normal?
Who wants to be normal when you can have an amazing experience? Bigger sound, bigger picture, bigger experience, bigger drinks. (Don’t get me started on the beverage sizes at the movies. My bladder couldn’t even hold a “small drink” at the local theater.)
What about crayons? Did you know when Crayola produced its first batch of crayons in 1903 there were only eight colors? In 2010, there were about 133 options and at the current rate we will have over 330 choices by 2050! What if I just want a brown crayon? Can’t I just find brown? No! I have to sift through coffee, cinnamon, mocha, sienna, cocoa, and toast before finally settling on russet! What the heck is russet?
And how about TV? Not too many years ago, there were five television channels, and there was no such thing as a remote control. Actually, I was the remote control! My son Alec was standing in front of the TV the other day holding the remote to cycle through channels like an ADD hamster out for a run on its wheel. After a minute of crash-course channel surfing, he tossed the remote on the couch and said, “There’s nothing good on.”
What? Nothing good on? Was he kidding? I said, “You have a thousand channels!” (The definition of “nothing good on” when I was a kid was five channels and a speech by the president being broadcast––when he was speaking, he was on all five channels at once!). During my childhood, there were no laptop computers or wireless anything. We had phones with cords on them!
Running on empty
Moments of rest used to come more naturally to us back then than they do today. Life’s pace, though, is viewed by each generation as moving too fast, and each generation struggles with time-life balance.
“Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels. I look around for the friends that I used to turn to, to pull me through. Looking into their eyes I see them running too; running on, running on empty.”
Before Jackson Browne penned those lyrics for his classic song “Running on Empty” (1977), the nineteenth-century British theologian Frederick William Faber wrote:
“It is very unusual for there to be completely quiet in the soul, for God almost continually whispers to us. And whenever the sounds of the world subside in our soul, we hear the whispering of God. Yes, he continues to whisper to us, but we often do not hear him because of the noise and distractions caused by the hurried pace of our life.”
And before Faber wrote his words, Solomon said:
“I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night.” —Ecclesiastes 8:16 (NLTse)
Apparently running on empty, distractions, hurry, and ceaseless activity have been a topic for a while. Each generation must solve busyness within the context of their world. However, regardless of what generation we were born and raised in, over-work comes down to the same thing for each of us: choices.
When we were growing up, phone cords and paper mail kept us on a choiceless leash, whereas today we have more choices than we know what to do with. So, how do we reduce our life choices? That can be summed up in one word: simplify.
What do you think about the statement, “the biggest obstacle facing today’s modern family is too many choices?” Does that describe your family life? In what way? Leave a comment below!
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Learn more about establishing healthy, Christ-focused families: download Jutila’s new book, Faith and the Modern Family: How to Raise a Healthy Family in a “Modern Family” World, on Vyrso today!
Today’s guest post is by Craig Jutila—an author, coach, international-communications consultant, and president and founder of Empowered Living. Jutila has more than 25 years’ experience of public speaking, and he served as pastor at two churches, including Saddleback Church for 13 years and The Grove Community Church for seven years. His latest book, Faith and […]