Empathy – The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Several years ago my wife became a stay at home mom.
It was something she had always wanted to do, and we had finally figured out the finances to make it happen.
At the time our oldest was in second grade, and our youngest was a year away from going to kindergarten.
Having my wife home was incredible, and one of the best decisions we ever made.
She was able to spend more time with the kids. She never missed a school party or field trip. She was able to get all the errands and housework done during the day, and she still had plenty of time for her hobbies.
It really led to a great environment within our home and family.
Now, three years later, my wife has gone to work full time at our local high school.
The main reasons being our kids are both in school now, and my wife getting a job at the school helps keep them on the same schedule. Plus we needed the extra income and the insurance.
She’s only had the job for a few weeks now, but already the dynamic of our home has changed.
The peace and harmony we have enjoyed for the past three years has been interrupted.
We’ll eventually get it back, but it’s going to take some work. We’re having to get used to a whole new schedule and level of busyness.
I wanted to share this with you because these last few weeks has given me a fresh perspective and level of empathy for young families in my church and the pace in which they’re living life.
Because now it’s the pace that I’m living life.
This is what my family’s typical weekly schedule looks like.
Monday – Work 8-4:30pm, Daughter’s Ball Practice 5-7pm, Dinner/Homework/Baths 7-9pm
Tuesday – Work 8-4:30pm, Gym 4:30-5:30pm, Dinner/Homework/Baths 6-9pm
Wednesday – Work 8-4:30pm, Daughters Ball Practice 4:45-6:15pm, Church 6:30-8:30pm, Baths 9pm
Thursday – Work 8-4:30pm, Other Daughters Dance Practice 5-6:30pm, Dinner/Homework/Baths 7-9pm
Friday/Saturday – Work, Basketball Tournaments, Date Night (If we’re lucky)
Sunday – Church 8am-12pm, Family Lunch, Nap (If I’m lucky), Possibly Leadership Meeting or Small Group.
Somewhere in there, we have to find time to get groceries, do laundry, clean the house, do dishes, mow the yard, spend quality time together, etc.
Let me tell you it’s stressful, and I get tired and frustrated. And we have very short commutes to work, most people don’t.
And only one of our kids is playing a sport, and one is in dance, many families have multiple kids involved in multiple sports and activities.
Then as a church, we’re asking people to be at church for multiple services, get their kids to youth services, and get involved in a small group during the week.
Now I have a much better understanding of why people say no, because it’s tempting for me to say no sometimes.
If you’re a pastor who wants to reach young families, you need to put yourself in their shoes. Their lives are hectic and busy, and stressful.
That doesn’t mean we should give up on getting them involved in the church, it just means we need to be understanding when they’re not ready to commit to multiple church activities each week.