by Willie Muhammad
Studies show that a characteristic of strong families is that they spend quality time together. Countless studies have been conducted which show how spending quality family time greatly benefits children and the family bond. I have to confess, that it took me sometime to really understand the importance of spending quality time with my family. My time was consumed with work, entrepreneurial activities, mosque responsibilities and being actively involved in issues that impact our people here in the city of New Orleans. I would eventually come home and spend what I thought was “quality time” with my family, which now in hindsight was not. The lack of spending quality time began to create a tense atmosphere in my home.
My wife and I began to argue over what I felt were trivial issues. What I came to realize was that at the root of those arguments was my wife’s displeasure with the lack of time I was dedicating to the cultivation of my own family. What helped me to see the light was a visit by Brother Sharrieff Muhammad, who now serves as the Southern Regional Student Minister. After he delivered the Sunday lecture, my wife and I, along with several believers joined Brother Sharrieff for dinner. During dinner, my wife asked Brother Sharrieff how he manages to balance his work in the Nation with spending quality time with his family. I just inwardly smiled and said to myself, “Aww Lord, here we go.”
However, Brother Sharrieff talked about how this was a struggle for him at one time as well and how it was initially challenging for him trying to balance family time and serving as the Supreme Captain. He talked about how his wife’s efforts to get him to spend time with the family were met with resistance at first. His excuses of lack of time and money reflected his inability at the time to appreciate the simple things. Bro. Sharrieff said his wife showed him it could be done. She invited him for a walk in the park where they all spent some quality time, just enjoying nature. He said that experience changed him. He said from that point on he made sure he spent at least one day a week dedicated to his family. During those times he made sure his family had his full attention.
Listening to him really helped me! From that point on I began to make sure that I carved out specific time for my family and my wife. I noticed that as a result of doing so the trivial arguments dissolved and the bond in my marriage became stronger. I have not reached the level of perfection, however, I am FAR better than I was! As I reflect back on that period in my life I realized that I was failing in my struggle for balance. As student laborers in the Nation of Islam, many people don’t realize the sacrifices that we make on a daily basis and the impact it has on our families.
I have come to realize that the same passion, sincerity and time we give to working on the behalf of our people and believers is also greatly deserved by our families. Take time out and set aside a specific day for your wife and your family. Then as a family discuss ways you all can spend that time. One of the activities we enjoy is playing some of those Wii Games. I get a chance to channel my inner Michael Jackson (smile). Find what works for you and do it.
(Student Minister Willie Muhammad is the New Orleans representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islam. Follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/BroWM46)
Related Posts in this Series:Some Relationship Essentials (Part 1): "Be That Which You Want to Attract" (7.27.11)
Some Relationship Essentials (Part 2): Who wrote the owner's manual for the institution of marriage? (8.04.11)
Some Relationship Essentials (Part 3): Stop Being Too Busy To Spend Time With Your Spouse (8.19.11)