Thank you for following my daily post. Tomorrow will begin new posts for 2018!
For the week between Christmas and New Years, I will be re-posting the Top 6 posts of 2017. Today I offer #1, a post from August 31, 2017 titled: Fighting for Your Family
I have had several conversations with parents lately that have centered on the fear that they were “losing their family.” Nothing dramatic, nothing sudden…but a slow, gradual loss of what their family used to be. As one parent put it, “I feel like we are just five individuals living under the same roof.”
The breaking down of the family is certainly not deliberate. Rather, it is a product of the times. It has a variety of causes, but two that are clear to me are the over-scheduling of our lives and the way families are choosing to communicate.
Family calendars are crazy. The demands made on our time are nearly unmanageable. To deal with financial pressures, parents pick up extra hours at work and students study late into the night and take even more challenging courses to earn scholarship dollars. Athletic seasons no longer have a beginning and an end; they seem to be continuous…pre-season workouts, the season itself, and then right into off-season drills. Starting when the kids are very young, parents schedule them into every conceivable activity, convinced that it gives their children some sort of advantage or helps in their efforts to develop well-rounded children.
None of these things are inherently bad. However, when combined they create an unhealthy dynamic for families. It could also mean that important things get squeezed out — family dinners, face-to-face conversations, prayer time…even attending Mass! (“We didn’t go to Mass this weekend because of the soccer tournament.”)
As for communication, we have become a society of 160 characters. The art of conversation is being lost. Texting “i luv u” followed by a smiley face is a nice sentiment, but it can’t replace looking your child in the eyes, saying, “I love you” with a smile on your own face…followed by a real hug, not a virtual one.
The “conversations” you are having in the car as you’re weaving through traffic or while both you and your child are stealing glances at your phone don’t count. There needs to be more “sit down and talk” time.
The answer is simple. We must be deliberate in keeping our family as a priority. We are already scheduling our lives…schedule family time!
- Choose one day a week that is family dinner night. It may end up being an early bird dinner at 4:00 p.m. on Mondays or late night on Thursday, but schedule one and hold to it. Start with one day and maybe it will expand from there.
- Have a family meeting to discuss everyone’s schedule. Is there one thing each person can let go that would give the family more time together?
- Schedule a once-a-month family game night.
- Make Sundays special – go to Mass together, followed by at least another hour of family time. (Ideally, the entire day is family time…but take baby steps as needed)
- Projects around the home need done anyway; make them family projects. However, don’t let it be all about the project. It is not about the landscaping or the finishing of the basement, it is about the conversations that will take place as you work together side by side.
- Make time to pray together daily, even if it can only be five minutes
- Say “I love you” as often as possible!
Society offers any number of ways to break down your family. Preserving your family is one battle worth fighting.