Early-morning practice, after-school activities, youth groups, soccer tournaments, club meetings, dance class, piano lessons – sound familiar? For many families this is just a typical Tuesday.
Do you ever feel like your family is running in a hundred different directions, each member pursuing their own interests and passions?
While passionate pursuits can be a good thing, they can make it hard for families to get quality time together. So what’s the happy medium? How do you find ways to make meaningful connections with your family?
Please allow me to make three suggestions:
I know, I know. Easier said than done. Yes, it’s important for kids to have structure and gain the discipline that comes from practicing a sport or an instrument; but it’s equally important for them to have down time and the freedom to explore and imagine things on their own. Look at your family’s schedule and consider eliminating an activity or two from the calendar.
2. Family Dinner
There are few places in the world for your family to better connect than around your own kitchen table. Stories are told, connections are made, and love is shared. You might be surprised by what you learn because there is an inherent safety that kids and grownups alike feel at family dinner. It’s a wonderful way to nourish the heart, mind, and body.
3. Be Present
Kids have a funny way of wandering into a room and offering up random thoughts and feelings. They don’t say, “Hey, Mom, I’m about to share something really important with you.” Rather, it’s more like gossamer floating on a breeze and you have to pay close attention or you could miss it. Time is fleeting, so seize those moments when they come. It might be in the car, late at night, or at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon. So when the gossamer floats by, put down the screen or whatever else you’re doing, and listen.
Finding ways to make family connections can be difficult, because we’re always looking for the big solution, such as a trip to Disneyland. But in all honesty, the answers rest in the small and simple things. Take time today to find a small way to connect with your family.
And if you need ideas and tools to help you figure this out, come to our retreat this September, where a weekend away might just be the answer you need to refocus and reconnect and figure it out. Click here for details.