Make your time during the holidays together worthwhile!
Staying connected as a family can be challenging during the holidays, especially after you factor in parties, school programs, family celebrations, and the everyday busyness of life. But don’t worry, connecting with your kids doesn’t have to be complicated!
Here are 10 ways to connect with your kids this holiday season:
1. Play games.
A lot is going on right now, but playing games with your kids is a great way to connect. Mom or Dad, let’s be honest: We can sometimes see this as an inconvenience. Most games are pretty quick, though, and your kids will appreciate the time you spend together. So break out the cards or board games, and let them win a little.
2. Include them in the holiday prep.
If your family is like mine, you’ve probably been going in 10 different directions. That’s a lot for kids to take in. And they want to be helpful. Let them help with baking and wrapping presents. If you’re hosting a party, they can help get the house and food ready.
3. What’s their favorite thing to do during the holidays?
There’s so much to do and so much fun to be had! Find out what your child loves to do and do it as a family. My oldest always wants to ice skate, so we’ll carve out some time after New Year’s to hit up an ice rink. Our youngest loves Christmas lights, so we take every opportunity to enjoy the lights.
4. Sing Christmas songs together.
Nothing says holidays like music. Let everyone pick out some songs and sing them together. Let the kids take the lead. Create a playlist for car rides. Maybe you can even go Christmas caroling!
5. Watch holiday movies together.
Grab some popcorn, ditch the electronics and watch some holiday classics. Maybe let each member of the family choose a favorite. A fun idea is to let everyone write movie titles on a slip of paper and drop them in a jar. Then you can randomly select and enjoy them together (without fighting over who goes first).
6. Try hot beverages together and teach them how to make their favorite.
You know what’s good on a cold day? A hot drink! Introduce your kids to a few different hot drinks and make them together. My 9-year-old loves to make hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and a candy cane. Get creative and help them discover what they like.
7. Set aside time to check in on them.
The holidays are hectic for everyone. Rushing from work parties to social parties to school events can be exhausting. Your kids feel it, too. Set aside some time to talk and see how they’re doing. Listening can help you connect deeply with your kids.
8. Make something special for others.
Our family has two holiday traditions that we look forward to every year. We make peppermint bark for our neighbors. The kids have transitioned from just delivering it to helping make it. They love to give. We also bake cookies for first responders on Christmas. They love to deliver these to the local fire or police department. Ask your kids what you can do as a family to give back to those around you.
The holidays are a terrific time to give back. Contact local organizations to see if you can volunteer as a family. Try your local food bank, homeless shelter, or the Salvation Army if you’re unsure where to start. Or try one of our personal favorites: Clean up a local park or neighborhood.
10. Take a family day.
Most kids get a two-week break for the holidays. You may have travel plans and family gatherings that take up lots of that time. But take a day for just your family. Make it an adventure and let the kids help plan it.
I’ve found that the greatest gift I can give my kids is my time. We love creating memories together. They may not remember the presents you gave them, but they will cherish your presence and attention.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Untitled-7-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2021-12-10 14:31:312021-12-21 10:17:0910 Ways to Connect With Your Kids This Holiday Season
“I don’t know if I can keep doing this (marriage) much longer.” I said this statement at one point in my marriage when things felt like they were falling apart. And my wife of sixteen years has said it, too. I’ve also spoken with plenty of couples who have said things like this at some point in their marriage.
There are some commonalities research has shown can help save your marriage when it feels like it is falling apart.
Connect regularly with people who are happily married.
Notice I didn’t say perfectly married. Look for couples who are healthy. Invite them to coffee and dessert. Talk to them. Listen to them. Watch how they interact with each other. Pick their brains. Find people who will hold you accountable, not pick sides. People outside of your marriage often will see things about you that are difficult for you to see about yourselves.
And disconnect from people who are not for your marriage.
People that will allow you to continually talk about what’s wrong with your spouse and constantly tell you that you’re better off without your spouse are not going to be helpful in saving your marriage.
There are experiences available for couples facing distress in their marriage. Some places offer classes; others have Intensive Experiences available (DivorceBusting.com, WinShape Intensives, Smalley Institute). First Things First also has free resources to use in the comfort of your own home. Additionally, you may want to find a good marriage counselor to help you walk through your issues. If there is one thing I have learned in my own marriage, it’s the longer you wait to ask for help, the harder it is to ask for help. Put your pride aside and ask for the help you need if you are currently struggling.
Look at Your Perception of Your Marriage.
New research indicates that how you perceive the relationship and your partner’s commitment to it is the biggest predictor of the quality of your relationship. Think through what you perceive about your spouse and their commitment level. The research says that your perception accounts for nearly 50% of your relationship satisfaction. When we focus on the negative things our spouse does, we train our brain to see the negative.
Communication has always been the issue married couples say they struggle with the most. It can be frustrating when you feel like you’re never able to address and resolve the real issues because the two of you can’t figure out how to effectively express your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Since many of us marry someone with a different communication style, learning to speak, hear and be heard has proven to be less natural than we expected. I was married 7 years before I learned how to effectively communicate with my wife. It was a skill I had to learn. I had been repeating the same communication mistakes over and over.
Yes, it takes two people to dance, but one to lead. Michele Weiner-Davis, marriage expert and author of Divorce Busting, tells couples, “If your spouse started paying more attention to you, making suggestions about trips you could go on, new hobbies you could do together, how would you be different in return?” Most say, “I would be nicer.” Then Weiner-Davis asks people to describe the ways in which they would be nicer and encourages them to start doing that immediately. So many spouses stand around waiting for the other person to just do something. If you want things to be different, don’t be afraid to make the first move.
“Don’t wait for your partner to be more likable – you be more likable,” Weiner-Davis says. “Ask yourself in what ways have you pulled back from your relationship. Your partner’s distance might be the result of you pulling away, too.”
Practice good self-care.
Taking care of yourself can improve your marriage. Be active by pursuing interests like gardening or biking. Read some good books and practice mindfulness. By paying attention to your mental health, your perspective will often improve.
Think about your daily interactions with your spouse.
Dr. John Gottman, researcher and marriage therapistrecommends a 5:1 ratio of interactions – meaning for every negative interaction you have with your spouse, you need five positive interactions to balance that one negative interaction. Expressing affection, showing appreciation, and doing small acts of kindness are positive interactions which balance the negative ones.
Talk to each other about your needs.
When we have needs and expectations that aren’t being met, resentment builds. Sometimes our partner is left to figure out the expectations because they are left unspoken. Sincere, honest communication about your needs and expectations takes the guesswork out of the marriage. And, it can shed light on expectations that just aren’t realistic at the moment.
Acknowledge what you can’t fix.
Dr. John Gottman’s research has uncovered that 69% of issues in relationships are unresolvable. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just is. Some common differences include disciplining children, balance between home and work, and political views. Learning to communicate and manage these differences can provide opportunities for marital growth. Besides, who wants to be married to someone who is exactly like them in every way?
It has been said that lack of forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself as well as your mate. The act of forgiveness does not mean you condone hurtful actions; it does mean you have made an intentional decision to move on.
Remember, you are on the same team.
At some point you began to feel like you are adversaries. Instead of attacking one another, attack the issues as two people working together on the same team. The outcome may really surprise you.
★ Saving a marriage that is falling apart is 100% possible. It will take courage, work and intentionality. Rebuilding trust, seeking to understand one another, and cultivating a culture of appreciation is a process accomplished through many small steps over time. 16 years into our marriage, we’d both tell you our feelings of despair early in the marriage were the catalyst for intentionally creating the marriage we want.
And, we are still working on it today.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/pexels-min-an-1004014-scaled-e1597687683708.jpg167450Reggie Madisonhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngReggie Madison2020-08-17 14:17:212020-10-20 12:27:28How To Save A Marriage That Is Falling Apart
A look that needs no explanation, a touch on the arm that says I love you, an unexpected hug because even though you think you’re hiding it well—your spouse knows you need it. Pretty much all of the warm and fuzzies happen when you feel connected to your spouse. And there’s nothing quite like that feeling.
Having a deep connection with your partner enriches your marriage and makes it fulfilling. The understanding you have between each other, the romance, and delighting in the little things (like waking up together) always feels more natural when you feel connected to your sweetheart.
Sometimes, it can feel a little challenging to connect when other things in life keep popping up and vying for your attention. But don’t get discouraged, there are little things you can do each day to pull your spouse a little closer even when you’re apart.
Ways To Feel More Connected To Your Spouse:
1. Embrace the Micro-Moments of love.
You don’t need a grandiose plan to show the tenderness you feel towards your spouse. Think small and build from that. When you pass each other in the kitchen, touch each other. If you go to work, whether at the same or different times, kiss each other goodbye, say “I love you.” Write a note and stick in a lunch box, on the mirror or hide it somewhere you know your partner will find it. You could write a compliment, a note of anticipation to be together again—the options are endless. Send a text just because without any agenda beyond the desire to connect. (Don’t ask about what’s for dinner or bring up something they are responsible to do.) These small moments of connection can go a long way and they don’t take more than 30 seconds to do.
It may sound funny at first, but whispering sweet nothings in your spouse’s ear can spark a smile, a kiss… maybe something more. Taking a moment to show adoration and endearment with a simple “honey,” “sweetie,” “boo,” maybe even “sexy,” or “hot stuff.”
Grab their attention, tell them you love them, and take a few moments to bask in who they are. Flirt with your spouse! Takes a little more effort, but anything worth your time does. Change your usual, “How was your day?” to “I’d love to make your day even better ;),” and choose what that connection looks like.
3. Do a task or chore for your spouse.
The catch is to not point it out, bring it up, or expect recognition. Do this as a reminder to yourself that you care for your spouse, that you’d go out of your way for them. Plus, if you had time to do something they normally do, by getting it out of the way, you’ve made more time to be together!
4. Be Intentional.
Being connected to your spouse means you make your interactions count. (That may mean being intentional amidst all your busyness and being sure they happen.) Run an errand with them. Ask them to run an errand with you. Make those car conversations count. Go for a walk around the block together. Tell them to dress up fancy for a night in or out.
Another way to be intentional is through conversation. Instead of saying “I like your outfit,” say, “That color is so flattering on you—it brings out your eyes.” Or when your partner is about to leave for work change, “Have a great day at work!” to “I’m so proud of you, you have such a skill for what you do!” These verbal affirmations communicate that you’re paying attention to what’s going on behind the scenes.
When your partner is telling you about their day, opening up about how they’re feeling, exploring a new topic for conversation, try giving them your full attention and some verbal affirmations. Not only will it show them that you’re present, but it’ll also show that you take interest in them, are still curious and want to know more about who they are today. Ask open-ended questions, “What got you interested in this?” “How can I be there for you?”
These 4 little ways to feel more connected to your spouse can make a big difference in your relationship! In marriage, the pursuit for each other never stops. You fall in love with each other over and over again as you continue to change and go through new experiences and seasons. If you want to try a new experience or need help sparking some conversation, we have some great free date nights you can do at home—check them out here! The two of you have a daily opportunity to express the love you share, and the more love you share, the more connected you’ll feel!
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/tai-s-captures-r2V3dyuD2sg-unsplash-1-scaled-e1597256919758.jpg219440First Things Firsthttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngFirst Things First2020-08-12 14:29:062022-08-24 09:29:074 Ways to Feel More Connected to Your Spouse
Everyone knows how to do “it,” but few people know the secrets to body-aching, soul-connecting, “I feel closer to you than ever” sex. What if sex wasn’t just doing it? What if sex was more satisfying physically AND emotionally? (Maybe it wouldn’t only be a Saturday night thing?) Here are 10 things EVERY married couple needs to know about sex.
1. Foreplay Begins With Each New Day.
Great sex starts outside the bedroom, long before the first button is unbuttoned. If sex is the high point of how the bodies and emotions of two people become connected—start that connection early and often, without expecting sex (or anything) in return.
Connect Emotionally: Listen, share feelings, do the dishes, help with the kids, don’t nag, give a sincere compliment, say “thank you.”
Connect Physically: Hold hands, give a quick shoulder rub, sit with your arms around each other. (In other words, sex shouldn’t be the only time you touch.)
2. Do Your Sex Homework.
Know what turns you on!
Know what turns your spouse on!
What kills sex dead for you?
What kills sex dead for your spouse?
Talk with your spouse about these questions.
(This takes the guesswork out of sex.)
3. Talk About Sex.
Talk about your sex life, what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to try. Do some things make you uncomfortable? Are there things your spouse could do that might make sex better? What brings you sexual fulfillment? How often would you each like to have sex?
Keep sex fresh and adventuresome! Excite your partner by doing the unexpected. Don’t approach sex in the same way or do the same things in the same place! That’ll leave you and your spouse bored, unsatisfied, and in a rut.
5. Expectations Are Everything.
People are wired differently—that includes libidos. Sexual interest can be affected by stress, fatigue, medication, season of life, and problems in other parts of the relationship. Some people need to connect emotionally before they can connect sexually. Some people need to connect sexually before they can connect emotionally. Communication is the key!
6. Sometimes, Focusing On Having More Sex Will Get You Less.
Remember, sex is not an end in itself. Sex is a means to an end. The “end” is deeper intimacy, a stronger connection, and a healthier relationship. Focusing on other ways to increase intimacy, strengthen your connection, and grow your relationship frequently results in more sex! Nothin’ wrong with that!
What are three activities that make you feel close to each other?
When do you feel closest and most connected to your spouse?
When do you feel most loved?
7. Sex = Give & Take!
Sometimes, you might not have sex when your spouse doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes, you might have sex when you don’t feel like it. Understanding this and respecting each other will set the stage for some great sex! Sex shouldn’t be transactional. Sex should be intimate and treasured. When sex is “weaponized” or becomes a demand or entitlement—you’re not gonna have a good time. (If that’s frequently the situation, talk about it or get help from a counselor.)
8. A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action!
When you finally have time alone, talking about finances, kids or in-laws can kill the mood. Don’t get me wrong—there are important marriage and family things to talk about. But if you want to get down to the business of love, leave those conversations for another time and take time to enjoy each other.
9. Keep Sex Fun and Playful
Sex is serious business, but if it feels more like work than fun, it’s less likely to happen! Playing together helps you associate fun and good vibes with your spouse, and that’s a good thing. Little things like winking at each other, using that signal that says, “Let’s go somewhere private,” or flat-out flirting can do wonders. Perhaps you’ve seen the TikToks where people simply walk into the room in their birthday suit while their spouse is playing video games. That’s an attention-getter for sure. And there’s always strip poker…
10. Less Stress = More Sex
The things that take up your mental and physical energy can impact whether you’re in the mood for love. Helping each other out can lighten the load and make you feel more like a connected team. So that means getting that to-do list done in half the time by working together frees you up for a little party later on. (Note: Sex can also relieve stress, too!) Give these four little magic words a try: How. Can. I. Help. Then watch what happens.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoringyour computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/FTF_NativeAd_Nov2021_10ThingsEveryCouple.jpg6281200John Daumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJohn Daum2020-07-09 20:49:202021-11-10 14:01:5510 Things Every Married Couple Needs to Know About Sex
In the March issue of The Atlantic, David Brooks writes a provocative and compelling article about family. He thinks the nuclear family is a huge problem.
He summarizes the changes in family structure over the past century here: “We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life to smaller detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familiar system that liberates the rich and ravages the working class and the poor.”
Brooks lists many cons of the nuclear family. Among those are:
The absence of extended family to function as a safety net during challenges
The socializing force of having extended family close by
Lack of resilience
On the surface, one might say that he is onto something. And he may well be. But is the nuclear family really the problem? Or is there something else at play?
Scott Stanley, a research professor at the University of Denver, questions whether the nuclear family is the real villain.
“Disconnection and isolation are his real targets,” writes Stanley. “To me, the nuclear family seems like a passenger along for the ride in a car leaving the scene of the crimes Brooks describes—when the car is driven by us. By us, I mean most of us, motivated for our desires for autonomy and freedom.” He continues, “A lot of the problems we see may be caused by what most people want—even if those things also have downsides for individuals and society.”
In another response, Kay Hymowitz and William E. Simon, Manhattan Institute Fellow, examined the past and found that scholars agree that the nuclear family household has been the “dominant form” in Western Europe and the U.S. since the industrial era. The anomaly was the extended family, not the nuclear family.
“As demographics changed, the dominant family form did not,” writes Hymowitz. “Rising life expectancy and falling fertility starting in the latter half of the 19th century meant more surviving grandparents available for smaller numbers of couple households. But the share of households with extended families stayed more or less the same. It seems that people preferred the privacy and independence of the nuclear form – despite all its disadvantages.”
Bottom line: Brooks seems to be espousing that for children and adults to really thrive, we need to bring back the extended family – related or not.
Brooks suggests plenty of examples of those who have moved from nuclear families to forged families. He gave Common, a real estate development company, as an example. Common operates more than 25 co-housing communities where young singles can live in separate sleeping spaces with shared communal areas.
But… does this really address the problem Brooks’ narrative highlights – disconnection and isolation?
Nothing legally binding keeps the people in these communities from coming and going. People move for various reasons – job transitions, marriage, divorce, etc., so it doesn’t seem to address the root problem.
In general, human beings are relational by nature and thrive on connectedness. Whatever our family form looks like, how do we create an intentional community in a society with a strong bent toward isolation?
Regardless of your situation, you can deliberately and persistently build a support system around you to create the safety net extended families might fill. Communities of faith often help to fill this void. Neighbors can also help create a safety net. Still, one has to be willing to establish and maintain relationships with those around them. School and work present opportunities for connection and networking to build your community, too.
Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to have vast social capital, but chances are pretty great that others around you don’t. As a part of a larger community, we all have some responsibility to help others connect and help people thrive.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/jessica-rockowitz-6c4Uhhe68yQ-unsplash-1-e1597073348782.jpg193450Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2020-02-24 00:00:002022-05-19 08:52:16Is the Nuclear Family a Problem?
Is it possible to connect at family mealtimes? We live in a day and time when parents feel like they run from one thing to the next seeking to give their children every opportunity to experience life to the fullest. Many people say there’s nothing wrong with that. The reality is that children and their parents are experiencing high rates of disconnectedness. They are experiencing a lot of life, but at what cost?
One of the most powerful ways for families to create connection is by sharing regular and meaningful meals together, which offers a variety of benefits. Studies suggest that having meals together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development and has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse and eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school as well as better family relationships.
Family meals also help to:
provide a sense of family unity and identity.
give children an opportunity to express themselves.
teach kids to wait their turn to speak.
let them hear many different perspectives.
show how to agree to disagree on certain topics.
transmit family values and traditions from one generation to the next.
teach good table manners and etiquette.
The American College of Pediatricians notes that the daily coming together around the family table:
Provides structure for the day, allowing children to feel more secure and safe by knowing what to expect.
Helps parents monitor their children’s moods, behavior and activities, giving insight into the emotional well-being of their children.
Allows children to learn and appreciate social interactions, understand the importance of community and experience different ideas while under the guidance of their parents.
These times together as a family create a bond and shared memories that children carry with them long into adulthood. The key to the success of these gatherings is to make them technology-free zones – no televisions, tablets or cell phones allowed.
You may already know that family meals are a good thing, but maybe you’re just trying to figure out how to make it happen and what to do with the time you have together. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be dinner, it could be breakfast, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. The goal is for everybody to be together and connect. Making the meal could be part of that or you could even grab something and bring it home.
If you are at a loss for how to get the conversation around the table going, here are some suggestions to help you get started:
Share. Have each person share their best/favorite moment from today or yesterday. Use this time to get updates on each other, friends, co-workers and family.
Ask. What’s one thing you are excited about that is coming up? Who did you notice today and why did you notice them? Is there anything going on in your life or someone else’s life that we can help with? What is the best meal or dessert you’ve ever had?
Discuss. If sports are your thing, talk about the latest game or an upcoming championship such as the World Series, Super Bowl, World Cup or NBA playoffs. Find ways to talk about things each individual is interested in or would like to learn more about. Maybe it’s that dream vacation or road trip, birthday bash or even how you’d like to spend your time over the weekend.
Listen. During the conversations, make the effort to listen without interrupting. Whatever you do, don’t ask a question and then hijack the conversation. We can learn a lot when we’re not doing all the talking.
It might seem hard to believe that just having a meal together where you are connecting can be such a huge preventative factor for so many things, but it’s true. The key is to be intentional and keep it simple.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/group-of-friends-making-toast-3184193-scaled-e1597259606231.jpg228450Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2019-11-11 00:00:002022-07-15 08:43:32How to Connect at Family Mealtimes
What is your spouse’s favorite thing to do in his/her spare time?
What is your child’s favorite meal?
Given the opportunity for a night out, how would your spouse prefer to spend the evening?
What person outside the family has most influenced your child’s life?
What accomplishment is your child most proud of?
If money were no object, what one thing would your spouse most want to purchase?
What household chore does your spouse dislike the most?
Who is your child’s hero?
What makes your spouse feel truly loved?
Now, go check out your answers to see how close you were to getting them right. Being truly connected to your family is the only way to know all the answers to these questions.
“From a cultural standpoint, the connections that people have with one another and through social networks have been shown to improve the mental, physical and spiritual health of individuals,” said Christopher Brown, anthropologist and president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. “There is something that happens physiologically when people are connected, which is why people do better when they are involved in healthy relationships with others.”
One of the most powerful relationships is between a parent and child. Studies show that parents are the first and most important teachers of children. Kids thrive when they can depend on a reliable parent when they need to talk, when they want input, when they need a hug, or want assurance that life will work out.
Research from the University of Michigan found that the connectedness that takes place during frequent meal times with the family was the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems, even better than time spent studying or in a faith setting.
Experts agree that:
Conversation at the dinner table shows to increase children’s mental and verbal abilities;
Eating together promotes good communication, and strengthens family bonds and relationships;
Families who regularly eat together have more cohesion and unity; and
Family meals give children a sense of security.
Connections count every day of the year. If you didn’t do so well with the quiz above, this could be a great opportunity for you to re-evaluate how you connect in your home.
This article originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on November 18, 2018. Click here to read the entire article.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/AdobeStock_244709582-1-e1598639010442.jpeg205400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-11-19 06:30:002020-08-28 14:23:42How Connected is Your Family? Take A Family Connectedness Quiz!
A typical day in the life of a family: The alarm clock goes off. Parents wake up children. Chaos ensues as family members fight for the bathroom, get ready and eat breakfast to be out the door on time. You race to the car, prepare for battle with traffic, drop the kids off at school, and head to work feeling like you have already lived an entire day.
It’s still not time to crash after working all day, whether on a job or in school. Soccer, piano, dance, and a parent meeting are all on the agenda. Then it’s time to head home, eat dinner, do homework, take showers, and crawl into bed. And you know that tomorrow’s routine will be pretty much the same.
Is this the story of your life?
Do you ever wish you could stop the merry-go-round and get off – just for a short time? The truth is you can.
Sandy Calhoun realized her life was spinning out of control, and she decided to do something about it.
“This was even before we had children,” Calhoun said. “I realized my life was a train wreck. I was working crazy hours, and the life was being sucked right out of me. At that point, I decided to get off the fast track. I quit my job that required extensive travel. I stopped worrying about the house being clean all the time, and I didn’t worry about the laundry.”
Now that children are in the mix, Calhoun still has to be careful not to get back on the entrance ramp to the fast track.
“With two children involved in different activities, life can get crazy if we aren’t intentional about saying no to certain things,” Calhoun said. “It is easy to end up like ships passing in the night. We have said it is a priority to spend time together as a family, and we are committed to making that happen.
“We only get one shot at being with our girls. I am continually reminding myself not to sweat the small stuff. The girls don’t care if the house is perfect. They just want to spend time with us.”
As a family, do you need to guard your family time by taking time to enjoy each other’s company?
Turn off the iPhone, tablet, and television and do something fun. If it has been a long time since you just hung out together, you might start with these things:
Make a meal together and eat as a family.
Go play mini golf.
Take a picnic and games to play at the park.
Build a campfire, make s’mores and eat them.
Studies show that family connectedness is essential to health and human flourishing, and strong families build strong communities. Over-committed families in too much of a hurry and parenting from a distance contribute to feelings of disconnectedness. In contrast, families who prioritize time together build strong bonds. Guarding that family time can make you stronger!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/GuardingFamilyTime.jpg9001400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2017-10-09 00:00:002022-01-05 14:42:06Guarding Family Time