Re-Focus on the Family

by Dr Amon Eddie Kasambala
The interesting thing about beginning a New Year is the ability to take time to look at what has just gone before us and at the same time to be able to look to what lies ahead of us. Whilst this ability to take both perspectives, simultaneously, can be exciting, it can also invoke a feeling of incapacitation in certain people. To some, the past year experiences were awesome while to others it was a different thing altogether. To some the future can be inviting, to others it can be haunting and fearful. In such situations, a lot of people tend to completely lose focus on what is really important.


The forgotten ‘silent entity’ of our society

However way you look at it, I would like to bring your attention to some area of life where a number of people are either thankful or regretful for the choices made. This area is the family. The year 2010 was not easier to a lot of people. A number of things happened in 2010 in addition to the biting global economic recession and financial huddles which exerted even more pressure on individuals and families. Unfortunately, due to pressure caused by the economic recession a lot of people made bad choices and took wrong decisions in this area of the family. It became easier for some people to make choices and take decisions that overlooked the needs of the family.

As the saying goes “it’s what shouts loudest that receives most attention”. And the family being a ‘silent entity’ in our busiest and loudest society, it tends to receive less, if not, no attention from the majority of people. Most people push aside those aspects of their family needs because something else is shouting the loudest. Needless to mention, Jobs, career, social life, business, and the like, (all great necessities of life), have managed to steal some valuable and quality time from our commitment to the family. And all this can be justified by everybody trying to ‘make ends meet’. Regrettably, a question that has not been raised during the whole process of life crossroads is: “When are the ‘ends going to meet’ the family? My intention here is not to make anybody feel guilty about past decisions and choices, but to highlight this one very important aspect of life –the family life, that continues to be neglected by a lot of us, and usually in the name of ‘making ends meet’.


You can make a difference this year

I believe there is always an opportunity provided to us by our Creator, and that is to start afresh, to begin anew, and to re-focus on what has been neglected or overlooked in one’s life. As you look to the months ahead, beginning from now as you read this article, you can start re-focusing your attention on the family. How possible is it? You may want to ask.


Take steps to re-focus on a real important entity of life – the family

• For those with spouses or in marital relationships, it would be kind of you to work out plans together for the year. Prior to filling up your diary with business appointments and other busy schedules, outside your relationship, it may be helpful to slot in portions of your time in the calendar year with your spouse’s needs.

• For those with children (especially younger kids), it would be helpful to not only slot in your year planner their birthdays, but also to provide space for quality time to be with them during the course of the year. Children need security. The continuous absence of parental figures in a child’s life is, most of the times, the cause for insecurity and instability in their growth process. Most rebellion we see in children in our society today is as a result of insecurity and instability in the home. You can make a difference this year by taking the time to be with your kids or grandchildren at their most vulnerable times of life – when they are in search of acceptance, security, boundaries and more than anything else – the need to be loved.

• For those with ageing parents or grandparents, it would be kind of you to try and make their lives most meaningful by keeping close connections with them. The most fearful experience of an elderly person is the fear of loneliness – to be alone. Try to be there with them during this year.

• For those with ill and bed ridded friends or family members, please take the time this year to stay close. What make a difference during those moments of pain and suffering are two important and most overlooked factors of healing; presence and touch. To be present in someone’s life, when all the freedom they had is lost makes such a big difference. A touch on somebody’s hand or forehead during their moment of suffering is as great as walking with someone through the thick and dark Amazon jungle.

• For those who had no time in the past year to connect with friends, it is time to work out possibilities of reconnecting. Pick up a phone today and make a call, as my dear good Welsh friend Rob Parsons aptly puts it: “None of us is assured of tomorrow, make the most of today!”


When all is said and done and dusted, what really matters is relationships, and nothing else, but relationships. It is time to re-focus on what is really important – the family relationships.

Dr Amon Eddie Kasambala is the Chief Executive Officer of Focus on the Family Africa.


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