Updated: Jul 12, 2019
As we work on enhancing our relationships in the NewVIEW NewCHALLENGE, I think it’s very important to specifically focus on our relationships with family members. Is your family as healthy as it could be? Are you thriving together or growing apart?
I encourage you to be intentional with your family to build each other up and strengthen your bonds. What does being intentional with your family mean? To me, it means being present and engaged. Approaching family interactions with thoughtfulness, with a purpose, for a purpose.
It can be easy to take family for granted, especially in the busy blur of day-to-day life. But the truth is, even in good times, families can always use extra fortification to defend them against life’s unexpected challenges. Don’t make your family relationships an afterthought!
On the 4th of July I looked around and noticed that about 15 or so of my nieces and nephews were on their cell phones. I went around and collected every single phone. I got the entire family to come together in one group. I asked one question: “How many of you have had one conversation with someone in the last hour?” Then, I made a bold statement. “The only way you can retrieve your cell phone is by saying what you are most grateful for and telling the family what you have been up too since the last gathering.”
This was one very special moment. It allowed us to connect, be present and be grateful for one another.
Here are six ways I’m intentional with my family throughout the week – and you can be, too:
1. Eat meals together
When my son was growing up - no matter what was going on - we always had a family dinner together at night. Even when I was traveling for business or a speaking engagement, I always made a point to call or video chat at dinnertime to maintain that important ritual. Eating together promotes communication, connection, health and wellbeing.
2. Pray as a family
I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, but I’ll say it again: the family that prays together, stays together! Weaving prayer throughout my family life has strengthened it in ways nothing else has. A foundation built on God is unshakeable. I make time to pray for family members each day. My mother taught me to pray for your children every single day no matter what!
3. Designate device-free time
I know it’s nearly impossible (and often inadvisable!) to go all night or weekend without checking your email, messages or social media, especially for my fellow entrepreneurs. But at the same time, it’s essential to be as present as possible during family time. Make your home a “device-free zone” during certain times of the day, or even designate “device-free rooms,” so no one has to compete with a screen for attention. Put away all cell phones, tablets, computers and other personal devices, and fully engage with one another.
4. Leave thoughtful notes
Even when my schedule is packed, I make an effort to send texts to members of my family throughout the week to tell them I’m thinking about them, I love them and I hope they’re having a wonderful day. If you have little ones, this might look like leaving a note in their lunchbox or backpack. It’s a simple gesture that will brighten anyone’s day and help keep your connection strong!
5. Celebrate little moments and wins
Don’t wait for life’s “big” moments to celebrate the achievements of your family members; instead, look for little wins throughout the week to recognize and celebrate all together.
6. Forgive each other
Perhaps the number one, all-important tenet of a happy, healthy family life: practice forgiveness and practice it often. (And I do mean practice – it can be hard work!) Forgiveness is a weekly, daily, sometimes hourly occurence in my life that is vital to sustaining solid relationships within my family.
After all, we’re all human. Sometimes we mess up, and that’s okay. Being part of a family means extending a little extra grace to one another, learning to forgive past mistakes or offenses, and ultimately moving past them to build an even deeper, abiding love.
How are you intentional with your family, or what changes will you make to become more intentional? Join the NewVIEW NewCHALLENGE Facebook group to share your thoughts and find daily inspiration to stop, reflect and change your perspective.