reproduced from https://www.wongkiewkit.com/forum/showthread.php?12571-10-Questions-on-Happy-Family-Life.
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Happy Family Life Question and Answer 9
Question 9 by Sifu Markus Kahila
What advice might you give for successfully balancing work obligations and a fulfilling happy family life?
Parents with children all have the responsibility to provide for their families, but also to spend time with them and to establish a nurturing and a happy family life. However, for many people all over the world, just to provide for their family is a full-time job (or multiple jobs) which leave little time to their families.
So what advice would you give for a parent or parents whose time is mostly spent working just to make ends meet and to fulfill the basic requirement to provide for their families, leaving little or no time for actually spending time with them?
Sifu Markus Kahila
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Enjoying a happy family life does not negate work obligations and does not take extra time. In fact, a happy family life will contribute to work obligations and making it happier to spend time for any thing.
As an analogy, we can take health. When a person is healthy, it does not negate his work obligations and does not take extra time. In fact,, if he is unhealthy, it will affect his work obligations negatively and it will take him extra time to get well.
In other words, the time with his family, without spending extra time, can make his family life happy, indifferent or sad. For example, when he interacts with his family, if he practices the five guidelines which I provided in another answer, which are 1. getting together regularly, 2. saying truthful things that his family members like to hear, 3. letting them live their own lives, 4. supporting them in times of difficulties, 5. encouraging them in words and deeds, he will have a happy life.
If he is indifferent to them, his family life will be mediocre. If he says things they don’t want to hear, or forces his views on them, family members will dislike him.
To have a happy family life, the person may not do all the five suggestions at the same time. At any one time, he may do only one suggestion, leaving the other suggestions for other times. Gradually he will find his family life become happy.
Nevertheless, as a happy family life contributes to effective work performance as well as joyful living, it may be worth his while to spend some time a day to cultivate my five suggestions – not necessarily all at the same time. In other words, by spending an extra 10 minutes to cultivate my suggestions, he will find that he will work less hours but produce better results, and he is happy more often than he is indifferent or sad in his daily life.
Of the five suggestions to have a happy family life, only the first suggestion takes some time. But even if a person does not spend time organizing for family get-togethers, he will waste his time elsewhere.
Hence, your statement that for many people all over the world just to provide for their family is a full-time job, is not valid. The fact that they provide for their family shows that they care for the family. If other things were equal, they are more likely to have a happy family life. Indeed, those who do not provide for their family, usually have a poor family life.
My advice for parents to have a happy family life, irrespective of whether they have little time or much time, is to practice the five suggestions mentioned above, namely have family get-together regularly, say truthful things that their family members like to hear, let them live their own lives, help them when they are in difficulties, and encourage them in words and deeds.
Providing for the family is important. Having a happy family life, and having good health are also important. One must set priorities correctly. If parents spend all their time just to provide for the family, and neglect their happy family life or neglect their health, they are unwise. Similarly it is also unwise to neglect providing for their family or neglect their health.