Q: We’ve made a family resolution for this year to be more intentional about doing things together that will strengthen our relational bonds. But I’m realising that’s easier said than done – it’s tough to find time for it with so much going on. Do you have any suggestions or advice?
A: Strong families are built on a foundation of love, which doesn’t simply happen. Love takes work – especially when the details of the day-to-day grind seem to crowd out everything else and leave you drained of energy and low on time.
When schedules are jammed with activities, it’s easy to lose sight of life’s little pleasures. But if you make the effort to notice those pleasures, dwell on them and bring them into focus, you’ll find that you’ve already taken a huge step in the direction of cementing meaningful, lifelong relationships with your loved ones.
It’s easy to forget that one of the most valuable investments a parent can make is the gift of time. Schedule one-on-one times with each of your children and consider these “dates” as important as any other commitment on your calendar. Take the children along when you’re running errands, making a point to talk about what they find interesting. If possible and appropriate, bring them to work with you occasionally to show them how you spend your days. And if resources allow, block out time to plan significant family vacations – or “stay-cations” – involving the whole household.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of the written word – especially “hard copies” versus electronic communication. Even short hand-written notes and letters, particularly those marking special milestones, can (and often do) become treasured keepsakes.
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