6 Ways to Stop Kids from Feeling Disconnected and Lonely

by | Aug 8, 2019 | Uncategorized | 19 comments

Merchandise is Here!

It’s podcast day, and I want to talk about the shootings.

Well, I don’t really want to talk about the shootings. But I had a whole lot of different thoughts going through my head from all kinds of different sources, and they all coalesced together into one thought: why are we so disconnected? I didn’t see it being talked about in the news, and I thought rather than talk about gun control and mental illness and political rhetoric (none of which I would want to touch with a ten foot pole) I could bring something else to the conversation–something that has to do with family.

So we had a really interesting conversation, with lots of practical tips!

I hope you’ll listen in, but if not, a quick synopsis is below. And please–remember to subscribe and rate the podcast! It’s really easy to listen on a podcast app on your phone or tablet, so you can take the podcast with you when you’re in the car, or grocery shopping, or on an errand!

Main Segment: Why Are We So Disconnected?

I opened the segment with my train of thought on how we got so disconnected. I had a whole bunch of thoughts that all led to one thing. See if you can follow the logic.

I was sad about:

1. This week was my son’s birthday, which always leaves me sad. I miss him.

2. I watched the movie Otherhood on Netflix.

Not brilliant, but it hammered home the point that many men especially are spending their twenties and thirties without relationships, just living for themselves. These guys needed feminine influence–specifically their moms–but they didn’t even know it.

3. Britain now has a Minister of Loneliness.

4. There’s a huge digital divide in parenting, with lower class kids spending a lot more time on a screen, which is impacting their futures.

5. 22% of Millennials say they have no friends.

Put all these things together and you have young people growing up disconnected from each other, not valuing relationships, and not understanding how important marriage is. Is it any wonder we’re disconnected and lonely?

So I had Rebecca join me and we came up with 6 key things parents can do to help their kids learn both the importance of relationships AND how to navigate complicated relationships.

Because let’s face it: Entertaining ourselves is easy. Relationships are hard. And in today’s culture it’s easier to give in to the entertainment than the relationships. So how do we raise kids who will do the harder thing? Listen in to that segment for our practical thoughts, and leave yours in the comments below, too!

Also, these points factored into our discussions as well:

Are extracurricular activities making your life too busy?

Comment: My wife doesn’t care if she reaches orgasm

Recently a man left this comment on an older blog post:

My wife and I have been married for over 20 years and the sex life has been just ok. There have been dry spells for sure, but we are getting better as we go. This much I know… she has never had an orgasm, nor does she want to. I have expressed to her my desire for her to experience orgasm, and my desire to help her get there, but it’s met with disinterest on her part. Every time I suggest it, or try to move into position with my hands or whatever, she pulls me and my hands away and says she just wants the intercourse. It’s very discouraging because I think it would only draw us closer and allow for more (sexual) intimacy. It would open up a whole new world for us to explore and enjoy sex the way God intended it. I just can’t wrap my head around someone not being open to the idea of their spouse giving them pleasure, especially to the point of orgasm. How do we get there when she doesn’t want to even talk about it?​

What he’s describing is so common! When we grow up hearing that sex is all about satisfying a man’s needs, we women get very disconnected from our own bodies and don’t realize that we even have a libido or that sex should even feel good. And she could feel very pleased with herself because she’s giving him sex, which is what she’s supposed to do! She may not understand at all that her enthusiasm matters and that most men want more than just someone who will “let them”. Most men want an experience that is mutual (at least good men do). These posts may help us think differently:

What she likely really needs, though, is to reawaken her libido (or even just realize that she has one, and that that’s okay!) For women in this situation, I’d recommend my Boost Your Libido course. Yes, it sounds like the issue is orgasm, but I think it’s deeper than that for her, if she won’t even try to have an orgasm. It’s about how she sees sex and her own libido, and I hope I can help her think differently about it.

Does sex seem like it’s entirely for him?

Do you yearn to actually WANT to make love–and figure out what all the fuss is about?

There is a way! And in this 10-module course I take you through what libido is (it may surprise you!), what affects libido, and how we can reclaim the excitement that God made us for.

Reader Question: Please understand how devastating emotional affairs are!

A reader writes with some warnings to everybody:

My husband had an emotional affair and it has been one the most gut-wrenching painful seasons in my life.  I still remember the moment he drove up in the drive way. I was waiting for him to confront him. I knew in my gut he was spending time with another woman.  When I confronted him and he admitted it….I was broken in two.  Our story has been a messy one but we are still together. He had to change jobs as he couldn’t completely break it off.  We are still building a bridge of trust between us and I wonder if that pain will ever go away?  We are both Jesus loving followers and that is the only way we have been able to survive. I guess for me I just want others to know that those flirtations are not harmless and can so easily entangle.  It has made me aware of how I speak to other men.  Please let your readers know it is dangerous territory and to stand firm and renew that mind!  It’s been devastating to us.

To me, this one summarized the whole podcast so well. There’s a lot of pain in the world, and so much of it is preventable if we just take care of the important relationships in our life.

Value people. Value those that God has given you specifically especially. People are the only thing that lasts forever. God wants us caring most about that which is eternal, and in Him we have eternity. So let’s not waste time on that which isn’t important. Just love those you’re with. It really matters!

Now let me know in the comments: Do you find that in your social circle there’s an epidemic of loneliness? How did we get so disconnected and careless? How can we get closer again? What do you think of the ideas we came up with? Let’s talk!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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19 Comments

  1. Jessica

    Re: loneliness

    I’m 35 which puts me right at the cusp between Gen X and Millennial, and so thus I claim whichever I prefer depending on the conversation. I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling like I’m striking out big time on the friends game but then my husband came home from our SS small group men’s time saying that the topic of your wife’s friendships came up and the book was advising husbands to make sure they aren’t inhibiting their wife’s ability to maintain her friendships with other women, and apparently 3 of the other 4 guys said that their wives don’t really have anyone they’d call a close friend. I was really surprised by that, these are ladies in their 30s and 40s, two are lifelong residents of this area, and they don’t really have close friends. (This made me realize that maybe I’m not doing so badly in this area, because I have various friends of varying tiers, and what I took out of it was, I have these people who I know like me and don’t just tolerate my existence, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself and invite them to do things, if that’s what I want)

    So, I don’t know what the answer for them (I feel kind of bad that none of the three of them are people that I particularly care to be closer with) is, but the upshot is, I do see loneliness among the circles we frequent. Figuring out friendships adult-style seems to be way harder than I ever thought it would be. Who do you click with, who do you wish you were better friends with but that person is clearly not into you in the same way, what a reciprocal friendship really looks like and how much the reciprocity really matters. The only answer I’ve been able to come up with in general is, you have to be willing to put yourself out there even if you don’t get the results you were hoping for. Invite that couple that you’d like to know better but your circles at church don’t seem to intersect enough for this to happen organically over for dinner. (I just did this. It took a couple weeks of psyching myself up. It was fine, and fun, of course. Also gave me the boldness to do the same thing with two other couples from church). Invite the lady you see at church that you’d like to get to know better out for coffee. Be the one to rally your college friends that all live in the same state but not close enough to see each other regularly, to get together for the weekend. (TOMORROW! I’m SO EXCITED. I was the one to bring it up but after that, someone else took over the planning, even!) Since that small group back in April, I’ve been really trying to step outside my comfort zone in this area (I tend to be, if you’re not clearly into me, I’m just not going to put in the effort), and people have been very receptive. It’d be great if it becomes reciprocal, but that’s the part that I’m trying to be OK with if it doesn’t happen. And we have the benefit of doing this post-Facebook/texting, so I don’t have to call the people up and ask, I can send a Facebook message and they can just ignore it if they’re like “Not you, I don’t even know you” (Princess Diaries movie).

    I think I may have devolved into rambling here… this is a topic I have A LOT to say about. 🙂

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Don’t apologize for rambling! It was a great ramble!

      I totally agree about taking the initiative, and having couples over (or just getting together with a friend one on one). We do need to do that. I think it’s also okay to give ourselves a bit of a break. Friendships at 40 won’t look the same as at 16, when you talked everyday, and that’s okay. If you only see each other once a month, or a few times a year, but those times when you do get togehter are fun and meaningful, then that’s great! Don’t feel guilty that it’s not more often. The question I’ve always asked myself is this one: If I ever were in a crisis, would I have people I can call and that I could talk to about it? And if it’s more than a handful, I’m doing pretty well!

      Reply
  2. KJ

    Hi, this is the first time I’ve commented but I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and it has been such an encouragement! I’m a licensed therapist and I’ve talked with my coworkers about how if people would be able to get better sleep, stop using marijuana, get more physically active, and/or build some solid friendships that it would cut down our client population by about half! I can’t tell you how often I see people deeply hurting because they long for relationships in their lives but they just feel frozen and unable to meet people or develop close friendships. I’ve been blessed with a group of really close friends that I’ve grown up with. We’re all in our early 30s now and have moved away from each other, but we’re all conscientious about staying connected and getting together at least once a year. (And I’m super excited because they’re all planning on coming to my bridal shower on Saturday!) But there have been periods in my life when I was living in a new city or part of the country and I just wasn’t able to meet people in the area who were willing to put in the effort to be close friends, and that was tough! It took a toll on me. But I was purposeful about still interacting with people to the extent that they were willing to invest in a friendship. And there was actually some positive movement toward a closer friendship…that is until I moved away again!

    I’m a naturally more introverted and reserved person, but I know one of the things that makes me feel so loved and inspires me to reach out more is when I have someone that I’ve never met before come up to me and greet me and want to get to know me (like if I’m visiting a church or at a get-together). I think if we all determined to be more friendly and just take a caring interest in people around us, then we’d see so many more options for friendships and relationships open up to us! And maybe we’d inspire others to do the same too!

    Reply
  3. Sackett

    As you’ve probably noted already, hurt people don’t bother trying to reach out anymore. Before I knew that my core people thought I was lying and mentally ill, I was alot more friendly. Before they showed me that my abuser’s word meant more to them than my own, I was a very outgoing introvert. Then I kinda lost interest and am now trying to keep myself safe. Because I have a daughter to raise, and a husband who needs me. I just have no interest in getting to know anyone.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Sackett, I completely get that. I am so, so sorry. So sorry. I hope, though, that you can build a good community for your daughter and for you and your husband. Not all people are like that! And your daughter will need people, too. I think we all just need confidence in choosing well and trusting your gut (or really trusting that we hear God’s voice) which is so much scarier when we’ve been so betrayed in the past. Feeling for you!

      Reply
  4. Nathan

    I don’t want to get into the politics of it either (I have other chat boards for that), but I will note that the loneliness issue has been touched on by a couple of people on both sides of the spectrum, saying things like young people today often lack a moral center or feel unanchored in life.

    One good way to help would be for other kids in school. If you see another kid at school who appears lonely or isolated, reach out to them. Talk to them, get to know them, spend time with them, let them know that they aren’t alone. You may not become close friends, but it’s important that people feel connected and reached out to sometimes.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Yeah I think that is an important point. If someone’s just a little weird or just quiet and lonely, reaching out is so important and encouraging our kids to reach out is really important, too. (Many of my friends in high school ended up being some of the “outcasts” that I talked to!)

      But on the other hand, we also need to teach our children it’s OK for them to have boundaries. If someone makes them uncomfortable or crosses personal boundaries, they don’t need to be friends with that person and it is OK to avoid them. Especially as a teenage girl, I found that some of the guys who were more on the outskirts socially would become incredibly inappropriate when you started talking to them–no boundaries, no understanding of what was appropriate. And it’s also OK to tell your kids, “Be civil, be kind, and watch out for those people who look lonely. But you don’t have to be around someone who makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.”

      Reply
    • Cynthia

      My kids’ school had an amazing Recess Buddies program.

      They trained kids in grade 4 to be Recess Buddies, and actively look out for any younger child who looked lonely in the playground. They would then play with that child and help to integrate that child with the other kids, play games together, etc. Since nothing is cooler to a kid in grade 1 or 2 than a kid in grade 4, the program worked well. It also benefited the older kids by giving them a first taste of responsibility and caring for younger kids.

      Reply
  5. Nathan

    Agreed, Rebecca. Be kind and friendly, but don’t put yourself in an uncomfortable place.

    > > I found that some of the guys who were more on the outskirts socially would become incredibly inappropriate when you started talking to them–no boundaries, no understanding of what was appropriate

    It’s possible that, in their isolation, they never really learned what is and is not appropriate behavior. That situation draws laughs on TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory”, but in real life it’s a serious issue.

    Reply
  6. Phil

    As parents we tend to avoid the hard things such as for example; Dinner as a family because of the fights etc. It’s just too easy to avoid that situation because you just don’t want to deal with it. I am grateful that dinner is something we do do as a family. Yesterday I asked Grace a question I got off another blog. What have you given up on in our marriage and or life etc? Her answer was hiking as a family. She grew up with hiking. They hiked a lot. We hike but very very inconsistently. Why? Everyone likes it except my daughter. She is our complainer during many of our family events that involve exercise. It just causes so much of an issue that we avoid it. It is a simple fix though. Let’s go hiking and thats what we are going to do whether you like it or not! Summer time is a huge issue with screen time and getting our kids to do something besides TV and Video games etc. I don’t get it. I grew up on my bicycle and hanging out with friends all through the summer. My 2 younger kids won’t go outside unless we almost force them. We have woods and a stream and there are closets full of toys and games and crafts and they can’t figure out what to do. I suppose the answer is this: There is no way through but through. This is what we are doing and you are going to do it! We took on the family board game concept a few years back and it started out as a nightmare. Fighting over everything was a problem. It still happens but less frequently. I guess why it has improved is because we decided this is important and we are going to do it and we are going to work through it PERIOD. Here is something that I have come to realize also: My youngest is my weakest relationship in my family. He was read to just like the others but as number 3 he was left on his own to fend for himself because we were so busy running with our lives and with the older 2. Ultimately I spent less time with him one on one than the other 2 as a toddler. I think there is a connection there. Connection with your children as a parent when they are young is so important. You only get one chance. I am working on my relationship with my youngest. I have to figure out how to get through and deepen and develop that relationship. There is no way through but through.

    Reply
  7. Arwen

    I know Sheila you said you didn’t want to touch mental illness with a 10 foot pole. But i think it’s important and it actually goes with the topic you’re discussing today. The fact that there is an epidemic of “mental illness” in my generation has a lot to do with the epidemic of loneliness in my generation. They coincides with each other often times. Many of the things the APA classifies as an illness, like depression, are simply natural human emotions that result from some sort of trauma. It’s natural to feel sad due to the lack of human connections. We were never created to be alone.

    What is not natural is medicating yourself for feeling sad. Especially since the side effects of those medications are, suicide! More than half of the people who commit suicide were on medication. The best course of action to take is counseling/therapy. And above all REACH OUT TO PEOPLE AND FORM A COMMUNITY. Popping pills will not solve that. It will not heal you, it will only cause you to kill yourself for simple human emotions.

    Jesus also warns us that during the end times people will become lovers of themselves. And part of the loneliness epidemic has to do with many people’s refusal to reach out, MAKING AN EFFORT (it’s tooooo haaaard), they prefer to cage themselves in their homes binging on food and Netflix. As a people person Sheila do you know how difficult it’s to get those you reached out to, to give you a simple phone call back to hang out? The amount of disrespectful, lovers of self, and downright effortless people in my generation enrages me! If you disagree with anything they drop you like hot potatoes. The past generation could literally agree-to-disagree in a peaceful manner. The only thing they will make an effort for is greed/money/work. Oh, they will chug down a whole pot of coffee to get that paper money but won’t lift a finger to dial a phone for an answer.

    All i’m witnessing is the Bible coming to pass. Everything Jesus told His disciples to look for “when you see these things happening” is taking place at a rapid rate. In the end all it does is make people sad/depressed, which they take a pill for that causes suicide and they are gone forever. Had the made the EFFORT the SACRIFICE no matter how difficult to form those relationships then perhaps we wouldn’t have countries like Japan where suicide is the highest in the world.

    Perhaps it shouldn’t surprised us that countries we call 3rd world/developing nations are the happiest and have the least suicide rate, less medication, compared to 1st world/developed nations. “It takes a village to raise a child” an African Proverbs, where the whole community comes together used to be like that at one point in the Western world, that is until we traded our soul for the ease of technology. If you think what’s happening right now is bad wait till they unleash A.I. Men are declaring women will become obsolete, replaced by their sex machines.

    Hopefully i’ll be dead by then. The world is headed into a very dark place. Even developing nation are getting affected. For us believers we have Christ to hope for, for the unbelieving, well tragic is all i can say. The only thing we believers can do in the meantime is continue sharing the Gospel. Because there is nothing else we can do. We can’t stop it but we can lead people to the one who can give them hope & belonging.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I just feel the need to clarify two things:

      1: Medication is incredibly important in treating many mental illnesses. Studies have proven again and again that the best therapy includes a mixture of medication and therapy. The reason we see so many people who commit suicide were on medication is because people are put on medication due to their suicide risk, so it’s a self-selected group (it’s like saying that firemen cause fires because whenever there’s a fire a lot of firemen are present). In fact, we actually see suicide rates FALL when we put people on medication than if they are diagnosed with a serious mental illness and are not given meds at all. That’s why meds are used when someone is a risk for self-injury, because studies show it’s less likely they’ll harm themselves if they’re on meds.

      2: The lower suicide rates and medication rates among 3rd world countries does not necessarily equate to what you’re getting at. These countries also have higher rates of sexual violence, more children die early in life, higher rates of poverty, and the like. And also, how are you supposed to measure suicide rates among ghettos of millions of people? Answer: you can’t. So they don’t. As a result, many of this research comparing countries comes from studying medical records among those countries, which automatically eliminates the poorest of the poor from the data (who make up the VAST majority of the population) because there is simply no way to measure their experience since they do not have access to any public services.

      Overall, I agree with the point you’re making that we need to get out of the consumerist, convenience-obsessed culture we’re in in the Western world and maybe consider looking at some of the community habits in other countries. But I just think it’s important that we do not villify medication for mental illness when it is literally a life-saving force for many people and do not over-simplify an incredibly complex situation by drawing false comparisons.

      Reply
      • Jess

        Thank you Rebecca for your reply to this comment. I think what needs to be reminded again and again is Jesus commanded love God and love your neighbor as yourself. This manifests itself in love, compassion, understanding, and empathy, NOT in generalizations and judgement. Strong opinions about mental illness (especially depression as that is what I have personally experienced) from people who have never walked through it (I assume this commenter has not walked through it based on her generalizations) are the most hurtful and harmful. I have tears in my eyes from reading her comment.

        I have been depressed for 11 years. Almost no one would ever know that about me by looking at me. Almost everyone I tell says they would have never known. Depression is not just “sad feelings”. It’s not a lack of effort to reach out on my part or the part of anyone around me. It’s not always the result of trauma (I have none). Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and we just trust that we love and serve a God who does.

        I am outgoing and happy most of the time. I can be introverted or extroverted depending on the situation. I have deep, meaningful relationships with my husband, children, and friends. I spend time in Scripture and praying. I value my relationship with God and with others. And you know what, I’m still depressed. It doesn’t make sense until you’ve walked through it (and even then it doesn’t make sense).

        I have been to counseling. I have been on medication. I have been off of medication. I have changed my diet and exercise routine. I have prayed about it countless times. I hate being depressed and I would do any of it again (including “unnatural” medication). I have better days and worse days, but only God knows when He will relieve this burden and He can use any method He sees fit to do it. You would never tell someone with cancer that they shouldn’t have chemo because it’s “not natural”. You would never tell someone in excruciating pain from an accident that they shouldn’t receive pain medication because it’s “not natural”. So please don’t tell me that I don’t deserve medication for my pain just because you can’t see it.

        More hurtful than the depression itself is those who judge what they do not know, those who generalize my situation or try to blame it on something specific that I (or anyone else) has done wrong, those who tell me that it’s just “sad feelings” and that I don’t need medication because God should be enough or that if I just prayed more it would go away.

        I try not to get involved in arguments or controversial conversations on the internet but this is so close to my heart. I cannot stand by and be silent. And Rebecca, (and Sheila), I thank you for being a voice, a light in the darkness, as well.

        Reply
    • Blessed Wife

      Bless your heart, Arwen, you clearly have more opinion than knowledge or experience on this issue!

      Depression is not just “sad feelings” that come from an identifiable cause. It is not a lack of effort to connect. It is not laziness or a wish to isolate oneself. In many cases, it is a chemical/hormonal imbalance in the brain that persists no matter how hard you work, how much exercise you get, how well you eat, or how socially active you are. Some medications can help correct this imbalance, although they are most effective used with therapy, exercise, diet and healthy sleep habits.

      After several bad experiences with antidepressant medications, I personally have a strong distrust of them and would use them only as a last resort. However, I’ve been at that last resort, and don’t know if I’d have made it without the use of those medications. There are some cases and patients for whom they are a literal lifesaver. Those people don’t need ignorant judgement. They are suffering enough, not least from frustration and bewilderment as to WHY they are doing everything right and still can’t feel better.

      Hang in there, Jess! The One who saves your tears in a bottle remembers and sees you, always. You are treasured, and one day, you will be healed. I don’t know His purpose in your situation, but I know He ultimately works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Be blessed!

      Reply
  8. Lindsey

    I think there are two issues that come in to play with regards to millennials and loneliness. They are Cynicism and Lack of self-awareness.

    My generation was raised having access to SO much information – and most of it was “bad news”. For the first time in the history of the world we grew up reading bad, horrible things from all over the place (whereas previously only certain, extreme stories made “national news” when we relied on television or radio for news). The consequences of this is that we have become a generation that is mistrustful. We don’t believe that most people will be good to you if you’re good to them. Add to that the fact that so many grew up in broken homes filled with dysfunctional relationships – and we learned that even the people who claim to love you will hurt you over and over again. They’ll leave you, manipulate you, abuse you, neglect you.

    Because of all this pain we learned at a very early age to turn it off. To tune it out. To go numb. It is a protection mechanism as a child, but as an adult it hurts us. We often don’t even realize we are lonely, there’s just a vague, nagging feeling that something’s missing.

    In the face of this we are also an increasingly godless generation. The third decade of secular humanist brainwashed, publicly educated students, we cannot truly understand why we aren’t happy because we believed that fun and materialism was supposed to equal happiness. We were not taught that self-sacrifice and duty are what produce true contentment and joy. Ironically, we are also said to be the generation that eschews materialism, but it’s just that we eschew the responsibility of homes and steady jobs that may prevent us from whatever pseudo -meaningful thing we prefer to chase instead.

    We don’t trust.
    We don’t truly experience our own emotions within the context of rational thought.
    We have no friends because we don’t feel the need for them.

    Those of us blessed enough to grow up in relatively stable homes, who developed a relationship with God, and found a spouse are not unaffected from the society around us.

    I personally am in the thick of raising four kids, homeschooling, and being a full-time college student myself. If you asked me who my non-spouse, non-family friends are I would tell you three names. I only speak to them every month or two. My sisters (3)and I talk more, and my husband is my best friend. Occasionally I wish for more deeper, meaningful friendships. But, if I’m honest, I’m too busy and too guarded to actually develop them. Maybe someday when my kids are grown.

    Incidentally, at least one of the shooters grew up without his father due to a divorce. Is that the REASON? No, but children need fathers…and they need to not feel abandoned.

    Reply
  9. Becky

    I’m pretty much in that “Xennial” nowhere zone where which generation I’m actually part of depends on who’s describing it. And I think my situation is a little unusual– I do have a few close friends, but for the most part, the people that I would call that are ladies that I’ve known since childhood, either from the church or the Christian school that I grew up in, or college at the latest. Somehow, those older friendships have remained intact, even though I don’t see those friends nearly as often as before. I’ve found that making lasting friendships as an adult is much more challenging. It seems that whenever someone’s life situation changes, like someone moves away or switches churches or gets married or whatever, they just move on to the next thing and the friendship fizzles out to mere Facebook friend level, no matter how solid it was before. I’m probably guilty of the same to some extent, since I’ve found that parenting young kids can be rather all-consuming, and I have to be very intentional about making time to get together with my friends occasionally. I don’t really know any good solutions to that, especially since my husband would say he’s one of that group of Millennials who doesn’t have any friends, and as two introverts, we have struggled quite a bit to find ways to connect as a family in the traditional small group structure within our current church.

    Honestly, I’ve had a much easier time individually with that, due to a book club I got involved with that just happens to be all women from my church– it’s been much easier to get to know those ladies better when the novels help open up discussion, even though that is not an official church activity and we read secular books. (Though I was there tonight, and the book we read this month resulted in some rather interesting discussions about faith and theology.) So maybe the answer is to just find some ways to enjoy life together without necessarily doing a Bible study? I don’t know.

    The example of prioritizing career over relationships reminds me of a frequent discussion that my husband and I have, too. He works in a corporate environment, and often gets frustrated at how unsupportive the culture there is of having any life outside of the job. To his credit, he does do whatever he can to try and leave at a consistent time so he can spend time with me and the kids, and he works very diligently while he’s there. But he’s constantly telling me stories about how many people are still there when he’s finished for the day, at a completely reasonable rush hour time, and getting work emails from people who are still there hours after he leaves. I know he gets concerned that not giving his entire life to the company and prioritizing time with us makes him an easier target whenever they next decide to offshore work and lay off another round of domestic employees. (Which did happen to us last year, though he got hired about a month later for a different position within the same company.) I’m thankful that he still chooses to not turn into a workaholic in response, but until more companies choose to value people over their bottom line– unlikely– I can quite easily see how fear of unemployment could keep many people trapped in that mindset of needing to prioritize the job over relationships.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, Becky, to everything you said in your last paragraph especially. We do need to change the corporate culture. Sounds like you’ve got a great man there!

      Reply
  10. Natalie

    Comment on your remark at 28 minutes:

    That’s exactly why people who loved a book often aren’t big fans when it becomes a tv show or movie: they’re not experiencing the story and the characters in the same way and with the same depth as they originally did when they read the book.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! Very true.

      Reply

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