Q: I feel like I've "run my course" at work. I'm considering changing careers, but I'm already 45. Should I just ride it out in my current job and wait for retirement?
Jim: More and more, choosing a career is not a onetime event. It's a series of decisions we make as we progress through different stages of life. A career path may change several times based on age, family size, maturity and so on. So there's no right or wrong answer here. Just keep in mind that determining your career path requires a healthy amount of wisdom, reflection and prayer, as well as the support of your family.
If you do decide to change careers, here are some important things to keep in mind, courtesy of Crown Financial Ministries:
-- Don't always choose the first or easiest job you can find. The goal should be to move into areas in which you're using your strongest talents.
-- Don't pick a job based solely on salary. Making bigger money won't be worth it if you don't like the work.
-- Avoid choosing a job simply because the title sounds impressive. Doing what you're good at and what you enjoy is far more important than what appears on your business card.
-- Don't select a job just because you have the minimum ability to do it. There may be a lot of jobs that you can do, but that doesn't mean they're the best options available. Make sure the career you choose is the right combination of challenging and fulfilling.
Q: I love my daughters, but they're constantly fighting. My mother says I should intervene, but my husband thinks sibling rivalry is normal for kids their age. Should I be worried about this?
Dr. Greg Smalley, Vice President, Family Ministries: I have three daughters of my own, so I appreciate the challenges you're experiencing! Sibling rivalry is normal and extremely common, but that doesn't mean that it should be tolerated. If carried to extremes, it can be very harmful, especially if there is constant anger, bitterness and mutual disrespect. My wife and I remind our girls regularly that they are setting the foundation for their relationships as adults. How close they'll be in the future -- not just today -- is at stake.
Consider holding a family conference, a quiet evening when everyone is in a good mood. Tell your daughters that you're concerned about their disrespectful treatment of each other and that you expect to see some changes made. Make it clear that you're going to be implementing some new household rules and that there will be consequences when those rules are broken.
The expectations should be clear, and the consequences immediate, consistent and powerful. For example, if your daughters receive an allowance, tell them that you'll be deducting a dollar a week for every violation of the new "respect policy." You could also take away favorite toys, activities or privileges for a period of time. Be sure to choose things that really matter to your girls, such as smartphone or social media access for a preteen or adolescent, or biking, playing with dolls or spending time with friends for a younger child.
Write out your new rules and consequences in the form of a contract. Have your daughters sign it and post it on the refrigerator. Since it's important to emphasize positive as well as negative consequences, you might want to include an "earn it back" clause, whereby the girls can regain privileges by treating each other appropriately for a predetermined period of time. Once the plan is in place, stick to your guns and be diligent to administer the agreed-upon consequences consistently.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.