Thursday, February 17, 2011


- A Clinician’s Viewpoint

Ours is money world. Governments want our money to offer us services and run things. Business wants our money from sales of goods to make a profit. The professionals want money to share their skills with us. The media want money to deliver news and entertainment.

So the family knocks itself out to get money for all the goodies that the governments, business, the professionals and the media are selling. The result is that family life is dominated by money.

But, what if wellness and happiness can’t come from money and the outside
world? What if, wellness and happiness are only found inside us and our families?

The sages have strong opinions about this:

Helen Keller: Happiness is obtained through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Gandhi: Increase in material comforts in no ways leads to moral growth.

Eric Hoffer: The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.

Paul: The love of money is the root of all evil.

Is it possible that we are the ones who are keeping the money rat race going? Are we assuming that wellness and happiness come from the community sources wanting our money?

What if, happiness, like money, is a by-product of our wellness? Crazier ideas have come along before. If we turned our family focus to wellness what would happen?

We know we can increase happiness of our family members if we took more time for them. We know that we could work fewer hours and play with family more if we settled for an older car or house. We know that our eating and entertainments costs would go down if we did more at home.

So, it is possible that we have got our families in the money rat race at the price of our wellness and happiness. That is a high cost. Is there evidence for this?

The answer is lots. We must make more money to buy anxiety medications because we are too stressed. We have given up on family entertainment,
(games, music, hikes) and have turned to high cost gadgets and programs.
We are losing great learning opportunities by not reading the classic books.

This sounds dull, right? - just like a diet sounds dull to an obese person. Have we become so fat on goodies, it is now very hard for us to do what brings wellness and happiness.

If happiness is a by-product of wellness, then our focus on money should be replaced by a focus where it belongs, on the family. This means that the family must get a whole renewed vision of itself and its job. The sages say that if we get things right within ourselves, happiness and the necessities will follow. They warn us that the direct search for happiness and money are dead end streets.

For a new view of family wellness please see:

Give us your thoughts on this FAMILY CHALLENGE.

Friday, February 04, 2011


Boy, do we have a spirituality muddle these days! We’ve got more brands than A & P.

In the middle of this muddle, old-fashioned Christianity is taking a beating. The young folks just don’t dig church.

Where does this muddle leave the family? Research by Barna says faith is nurtured in the family. That’s both good and bad news. It’s good if the family is firm in its faith. It is not good if the family is in the muddle.

In today’s Western world, the usual response to a spiritual question is: “That’s personal and private” or another is “I go with what’s comfortable.”

Both responses clearly represent the general public mood. The popular name for that mood is New Age. The central theme of New Age, whatever brand, is “I’ll decide what I believe, thank you.”

This public mood is in direct contradiction to Christian belief (despite the fact that most Westerners call themselves Christian). The Christian, Bible-based belief is that the new life comes when one surrenders self to the guidance of the Lord and His followers.

How’s that for radical? That’s radical! It just happens to go against a tenet of Western culture, i.e. “My Freedom comes First!”. That’s probably why traditional Christianity is on the wane in the West. It can’t stand the cultural competition.

Where does this leave the family? In the middle of a muddle! However, all faiths call for decision. The question is not whether “To Be or not To Be.” But rather “To believe or not believe” - that’s the question!

As the family chooses, so go the children. Barna is probably right about that.

If it is decision time, check out - it helps.

Give us your views on THE FAMILY CHALLENGE.