North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

February 8, 2013

Danielle Cater: Family time is priceless — make it count

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — As I sit here with my daughters and engage myself in a rather intense coloring contest, I am reminded of the importance of family. Since my family just recently doubled in size, it is even more apparent to me that nothing compares to the closeness of family.

I agree with many people who feel as though friends can come incredibly close to family. But there is still something about family that can’t be replaced with a friendship. Don’t get me wrong, there are areas in my life where my girlfriends are much closer to me than my blood family. There are corners of my world that my family would probably rather not be a part of, so I reserve those crazy corners for friends who can bear to be with me there.

But the most intimate and close areas of my life are reserved for family. Nothing compares to the joys that come with good family time. Just tonight, on a random Friday night, I found myself dancing in the kitchen with my daughters and my husband. That’s the moment that it hit me — life is good. Family helps to make life better. I guess God really knew what He was talking about when He stressed the importance of putting Him first and followed that closely with family. Nothing on this earth should come before your family — not your job, your church, your education; nothing.

When our families are functioning correctly, it seems that all is right with the world, but when things are out of order in our families, nothing in the world seems right. You can have your finances in order, get a raise at work and even get along with your in-laws, but if things are rough under the roof of your house, then none of the other stuff matters. This is why it is so vitally important that we invest our time and efforts in things that matter most.

Instead of sinking your mind deeply into the new “CSI: Miami” series, turn off the television and crank up the radio and have a dance contest with your kids. Instead of raking the leaves and moving them to the burn pile, make huge piles of leaves in the yard and then have diving contests with the kiddos. I guarantee that they will be more than happy to help rake up the piles if they think there is going to be some fun, family time hidden in there.

The most important things in life aren’t bought; they are memories made with the ones you love. Stop running around thinking about the next big thing and learn to enjoy the moment with the ones you are with. Instead of spending your time texting someone who doesn’t care enough to be in the same room with you, lock up your phone and look across the table at the person who made the effort to be there with you. If it’s your husband or wife, take the time to appreciate them for being there with you. They cared enough to take time out of their busy schedule to be with you. Make your time count. Make your family your first priority and you’ll never regret it.

Your children are going to grow up too quickly. Your parents are going to eventually pass away. Your spouse is going to have off days that seem like they last for months. Enjoy what you have today. Live in the moment and make that moment count with the ones that matter the most in your life.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to this coloring contest before it turns into a dance contest. Wherever this night takes us, this family is going to have a good time because we care enough about each other to make our nights together count.