Published in the Beaumont News in December 2016….
We all want to be involved in our kid’s lives. We just don’t know how. By involved I mean being able to talk with our kids and not just providing a taxi service. Unfortunately, habit and insecurity often prevent us from establishing those bonds. Here are a few suggestions for you and your family to consider:
Too many families rush through dinner. The entire conversation may run something like, “So, what did you do in school today?” followed by, “Not much, same old stuff.” Not the sort of conversation to stretch your horizons. But, you can change that. Begin your dinner conversation with, “Before we start to eat, let’s all think about the most interesting thing we saw, heard or someone told us about today. When you have thought of something, put your fork in front of your plate. When we all have one, we can go around the table and hear them all.”
You will probably have to work at this initially but it will soon become something everyone looks forward to. Parents will soon learn about new interests and activities that their children may not have thought to discuss or share with them. Remember, you have to share too, not just give lip service. Your kids will actually get to know you – who you are and what you like.
Early to bed, early to read
Most families waste the precious hours between dinner and bedtime. With so much time spent on video games and television, conversation and family activities are often neglected. Why not reclaim one golden hour? Armed with the knowledge of what interests your child or children, visit the library or local bookstore and get books and magazines that will catch their interest. Then announce that bedtime has temporarily been moved up one hour. If you feel that your child should be asleep by 9 p.m., make bedtime 8 p.m. and so on. Give them the books and magazines and tell them they have a choice between going right to sleep and reading for one hour. Virtually every child will choose the extra hour.
If you have chosen the reading material carefully, you will be amazed at the new interest they develop in the printed word.
What are your family values? Not your values – we all have those, don’t we? No, I mean your family values. Most families don’t ever think to create a value statement with their family. Here is an example of a value list drawn up by a family. This family viewed values as commitments to themselves and others. Your list can be different but this will give you an idea. Commitment to oneness – sharing everything with each other;
Commitment to seeking – actively looking for our highest potential;
Commitment to service – looking for ways to help family members and others;
Commitment to priorities – to base every decision on them;
Commitment to planning – to live life on yearly, monthly and weekly goals.
We have lost much of what it means to be family. Most of us live as individuals – which is great – but we don’t invest in the “we” of our little group.
This would be fine if, after the kids have grown and left, we didn’t miss them so much. Or, if after we have passed on, our kids wouldn’t feel, “Why didn’t I get to know more about Mom or Dad while they were here?”
But we do have those feelings. So, don’t shortchange yourself. You be the one to start today. Turn off the TV and turn on the family.