Family is the most valuable thing, make time for it

Published 3:48 am Wednesday, February 9, 2005

By Staff
Our View
According to a new group calling itself Take Back Your Time, Americans work longer hours and more days than we did in the 1950s.
They say many people work more hours than the average Medieval peasant did and more than the citizens of any other industrialized questions.
You may have seen the groups commercials on cable TV talking about how Americans spend more time at work than they do with their families.
One such commercial proclaims, "Thank you for trading your weekends for workends," another talks of the health risks associated with working longer hours.
According to research mandatory overtime is at near record levels despite the economic recession.
Studies say we work nine full weeks longer per year than Western Europeans do and up to four weeks longer than our Canadian counterparts do.
According to one study 37 percent of women earning less than $40,000 a year get no vacations at all.
When family emergencies or deaths occur most Americans must dip into whatever vacation time or personal days they have in order to attend to their families.
Science journals in Britain and America have been studying the link between heart disease and nervous disorders with work-related stress since the 1970s, one study suggests we work as much as 20 percent longer than people did in the 70s.
This stress and lack of family time is not just for the members of working America, but for our school age children as well.
Bookbags have become so heavy with homework that children are having back problems. In 1999 one student's book bag was weighed in at 87 pounds with nothing in it but the books needed for that weekends homework assignments.
Children are bombarded with so many stressors in daily life from peer pressure to tests, to homework, to extracurricular activities that stress-related illnesses including depression are at an all time high.
The family unit has been torn apart because each member of the family has their own agenda, their own schedule and their own problems.
Whereas people used to eat dinner as a family around six o'clock each member of a family now eats according to their own schedule.
We keep trying to find more time for work and as we do we have less time to care for children and elders and less time for our communities.
We don't know our neighbors because we don't get home until after dark.
We allow our children to watch TV all day on their days off because we can't spend time with them or watch them as they play outside.
Homes and yards get neglected and community landmarks show decay because there is no one with the time to volunteer for those projects.
People don't go to church on Sundays because that is their one day of the week away from work.
Some of us don't mind working late hours. Some of us enjoy what we do.
Many of us don't mind working a weekend here or there to get a project done.
Families need their time together though. Children need time to play.
We should all find a way to make time for the things that are important to, we lose.

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