From 1934 to 1963, Alcatraz was a maximum high-security Federal prison on Alcatraz Island. One of the world’s most notorious and best known prisons over the years, Alcatraz housed some of America’s most ruthless criminals. Each incoming prisoner was given a copy of the Alcatraz rules and regulations. Rule number five outlined their rights: “You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege.”


Your Highest Priorities in Life and Alcatraz Rule 5

Do you have that rule in your family?

That rule makes perfect sense in a prison. But it doesn’t make any sense in a family. Most parents would never make that statement to their children. But it is so sad to see how many parents, especially fathers, actually treat their kids according to rule five of the Alcatraz rules and regulations.

They give their children food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. But they don’t give them something children need the most – TIME. That’s a privilege parents keep to themselves.

Yes, we juggle a lot of responsibilities. All of us fight the battle of spending adequate time with our families. It just doesn’t seem that there is enough time to get everything done. You’ve heard this saying – there will always be more work to be done. If we wanted to work 24 hours a day, there would always be enough work, and it would never end.

Many parents are consumed by their work. Dr.Armand Nicholi of Harvard Medical School in his clinical work and research has focused on the impact of absent parents on the emotional development of children and young adults. He nails the modern mindset toward children (quoted in Anchor Man book by Steve Farrar):

“Our society, especially our institutions – schools, colleges, corporations, medical schools and hospitals – all seem to view the family as a necessary evil. The implication is that you spend a certain amount of time with your family because it’s necessary to do so, but then you get back to the work that is really important.”

Focus on the highest priorities

Work is just one area of life, an important one, but not THE most important. There are more important things in life, and if we want to live a balanced life, we need to balance the amount of time and energy we spend on certain things in certain areas.

If we want to leave a legacy, than in reality, our children, ie. the next generation, is our most important work. Have you really thought about that? Who and what they will become, depends on us as parents. If we really love and care about them and their future, then we will parent them with purpose.

It requires not only quality time but quantity time with them. You have heard that kids spell love T-I-M-E. This is true. We need to spend time with them while they’re with us. But how can we do it if we work all the time???

  • Are you treating your kids and family according to rule five of the Alcatraz rules and regulations?
  • Do you spend time with them only after “the most important work” is done?

How you can keep first things first

Schedule time with them TODAY and spend it with them! Enjoy your kids for who they are, play with them, take a walk with them, just have fun. And then each week schedule a few hours one-on-one with each of them.

Your highest priorities in life should be scheduled first of all. Remember, if you do not plan your time, someone or something else will do it for you.

Have a meaningful day!

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