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Monday, November 16, 2009

Debbie's TBN interview about the economy's impact on the family

This fall, 2009 Debbie did an interview with Eugene Norris on "Joy in our Town" with TBN television.  The following is based on that interview.

I. What impact does a slumping economy have on the family unit?
Too many families are already working overtime for “things” rather than concentrating on people and the family unit. If all your focus is on things – when you start to lose them, all sorts of problems begin. Marriage isn’t about things. It is not a business with a bottom line. If your marriage is defined by goals and what you plan to achieve - rather than a relationship - then the success of your family will be tied to the economy.  When the economy goes down it will take your family with it.

2. You say abuse increases when the economy is bad – how is this so?

Even wonderful loving people can reach their limit. During a down economy, if the family begins to lose it's way because of the loss of things - that will translate into abuse.  Let me go over the top four biggest problems.
1. Disappointment. If your marriage is about reaching goals and those goals are denied, disappointment can set in. Disappointment is a huge emotion to deal with.  Disappointment that you can't provide the desperately needed braces or the new bike or even an overpriced birthday present - can leave you feel desperate and like a failure. 

2. Being overworked, feeling like a failure or watching your dreams crash around you – those are all huge emotions that will translate into your daily life.

3. If love isn’t your main focus in your family – you can reach feelings like those of being the caged tiger. The caged tiger feels like he doesn’t have options and he lashes out at anyone coming near the cage.  And....if the family continually bangs on the bar of his cage by asking for "stuff" or demanding "participation" especially when he/she is overworked and tired....then...the caged tiger will lash out.

4. With all that working together – In the eyes of the overworked, the family becomes part of the problem and in desperation he/she will lash out at them. For example, imagine if Dad has always brought little things home for his four year old.  Nothing big.  A little toy or a lollipop.  But now that he is behind on the house payment and is taking yogurt to work for lunch, he doesn't even have the quarter everyday to bring something home with him.  What happens?  The child runs to him trying to continue with the things he loves, but in dad's disappointment - he lashes out.  Solution:  Mom needs to get involved and help by making a card, a picture, a cookie - something to take the place of a purchased item.  Mom and child also need to be understand that dad isn't being mean - he's just disappointed that he can't deliver.

III. Families need to pull closer in times of crisis. What happens that drives a wedge between them?

It’s all about focusing on love and what is best for the family. If you focus on money or things or position or anything other than being together – the family unit will suffer.  But, if you take your eyes off things and put them on faces ---and if you work together, you can come up with ingenious solutions.

IV. Fathers have a sense of being the provider – what do fathers need to understand during this time?

Great question! The only way for any family to survive during any stressful time is to make the family unit the most important thing in the marriage. It’s not about individuals – it’s about the unit as a whole. For example, if little Johnny contracts liver cancer…the rest of the family needs to go into protection mode for little Johnny. That means vacations, ball games, days at the zoo all take a back seat to making sure little Johnny is cared for. It doesn’t mean you don’t do those things but your perspective is taking care of a hurting member.

So…if Dad can see that it’s not about him and his feelings but rather about taking care of the family – then his ego is in tack and the family survives. I’ve written a booklet titled Stay at home Dads, the new supermen! I wrote it because more men than ever are staying at home because their wives can make more money than they can. I give all kinds of tips on how to adjust your ego and allow the family to win.

V. Do we see where abuse occurs because the wife is working and the husband is staying at home?

I’m not sure that it’s who stays home as much as where the emphasis is for the family. It’s the attitude about how to handle stress that makes the difference.

That attitude can come from being a spoiled brat and wanting everything. But…there we are back to the fact that spoiled brats can’t be trusted or counted on in a marriage.

VI. Is this abuse from the father toward the children? The spouse? Both?

Abuse doesn’t care about gender, relationships or age. Abuse comes from three forms.

1. You were raised with abuse and you are continuing the heritage.

2. You didn’t learn how to handle anger when you were young…or you’re a spoiled brat.

3. You are a good person, a devout parent and loving spouse, but you are overloaded and have become the caged tiger.

To wind it up…in a down economy you want to put your emphasis on protecting the family unit, protecting your relationships with your spouse and children and remove the emphasis off of things. Make the family unit and being together a #1 priority and let go of things.

I hope this helps you,
God loves you,

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