Imagine a young hockey team that is headed for a championship season. A kinship has spread through the team members, their parents and their siblings, as well.
One kid, in particular, has become the envy of the rest. His dad had purchased his son the latest hockey gear, complete with a limited edition carbon fiber hockey stick and custom skates. The boy and his siblings have an entire room inside their home where they can play video games and watch TV. If they don’t want to join their parents for meals, microwaveable macaroni-and-cheese dinners ensure they are fed. On birthdays and holidays, the quality time that was non-existent the year prior was made up for in expensive gifts and the newest gadgets.
But does this 12-year-old really have it all? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Most of us recognize the sad reality of the situation.
But look a little closer. How many times do we engage in the same types of behaviors when we fail to cultivate the core of our family and prioritize what truly matters? We talk but don’t always listen. We have good intentions but let things get in the way of our true priorities. Our children grow up, they move away and we wonder why they can’t seem to make it home for the holidays.
Restoring balance in our families builds a foundation of love that is always, unconditional and no matter what. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Share your values with your children. Lead by example, respect one another, forgive others when things don’t go well and support one another through good times and bad. Create traditions that strengthen your family’s identity and core values. Harness the pure love from healthy family relationships so everyone feels safe, secure and loved.
- Pay attention to how your loved ones like to be loved. Take care of the people you love. Make their lives easier. Give without a thought of receiving. Show them they’re special in ways that make them feel the most special.
- Spend time together. Teach your children the importance of cherishing moments, not things. Whether you gather for family meals, head to the beach or catch your daughter’s basketball game, make proximity a priority. When you talk to your loved ones, make sure to listen with your eyes. Work together, whether you are serving food at the local shelter, volunteering at your church or raking leaves for a neighbor. No matter what you do, it will be time well invested.
- Share the love with your extended family. Even if grandparents don’t live nearby, build those relationships by crafting family scrapbooks, sharing vacations, retelling the stories you’ve heard a hundred times or giving them a call to let them know how much you appreciate them. Get into the habit of complimenting the ones you love and magnify their strengths. The world needs more of that.
What strategies have worked for you? How have you strengthened the core of your family despite schedules that often send you running separate directions? Where did you find common ground? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.