Families today face time pressures from all angles. Some, though, can be calm even when family schedules get stormy. The key for at least three families is an open secret—those that lean on God together can work out the kinks together.

"BECAUSE EACH MOMENT of our lives has potential for good, time is precious," says mother and musicology professor Annette Kreutziger-Herr, "and most parents work these days. Everyone has their schedules and timetables." Hers involve a lengthy commute in addition to university teaching demands. She and her husband, Klaus-Hendrik Herr, paused on a recent Sunday evening for nearly two hours of unhurried conversation, sharing ideas and anecdotes about family life, time pressures, and the spiritual resources in their home toolbox.

The Herrs and their two teenagers, Vincent and Anna-Zoe, like two other families I spoke with in the central United States, have tested and proved some simple, practical, spiritually grounded ways to enjoy real freedom and calm in an ever-more time-sensitive world. For these families, being happy doesn't mean escaping from calendars, commutes, drop-offs and pickups, as well as occasionally frayed emotions. But for them happiness has taken root and grown in direct proportion to their desire to live together in close connection with God, and in mental climates where love, communication, and mutual respect flow freely in all directions.

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May 23, 2005

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