Our family back in 2008. Hard to believe we have added two girls to the family since then. Where does the time go?
SO... you have decided to be more INTENTIONAL with your family this year. Now what...where to start...what does this mean....what is next...?
Let me tell you.
Let's think about the drains that KEEP our families from being INTENTIONAL, so that we can know where to start...
Despite our best intentions as parents, The time family members spend outside their homes, and the technology inside our homes, keeps us from being INTENTIONAL.
How? It drains our families of time and opportunities to be together.
First: Time spent outside the home.
Now, don't get me wrong, we all have to leave the house, and we all have things to do. But...how is our family going to do things together, have dinner together, laugh together, work together, play together, if everyone is always away from home doing their own thing? It just can't happen.
In general families are over scheduled. Society tells us that our kids have to do everything, and that as parents we have to do everything too. Not true. If we want our families to be strong and successful, we need to do things together as a family.
It is time to evaluate the time we are spending away from home. A good rule of thumb is to have children in one maybe two, extra curricular activities. And the same goes for us as parents.
Second: Technology inside the home.
Technology is tricky. We might find that our family members are all at home at the same time, quite a bit. But...when you are all home is someone watching tv, someone on the computer, someone texting or on the phone, someone listening to their ipod, someone on Facebook? Sure we might all be home together, but we are all doing individual things, technology things. We might be under the same roof, but we are not together. There is little to no interaction or communication. This is even the case for spouses. My husband and I are usually always home together at night. But there was a time about two years ago, when we were together, but I was always on the laptop. I realized it was interfering with our ability to communicate and connect at the end of the day. Even though I thought I could, I really couldn't listen/talk to him and be on the computer at the same time. Sure, we were sitting on the same couch together, but we were not "together". Now the laptop stays in the other room.
Technology inside our homes will naturally keep us apart if we let it.
How do we overcome these drains?
First: Make better use of our time.
Think about the things that everyone in your family does. Do you all eat? Of course, everyone needs to eat. So why not eat together? If you can't do dinner, do breakfast. If you can't do breakfast, do brunch on Sundays.
Do you eat together but meals are chaotic and unorganized. (Seems like every meal is that way :)). Do a little more planning, make a meal schedule, start earlier in the day preparing, enlist everyone's help. Do what ever it takes to make the time together, better.
What else? Think about those things that you do together right now. Do you all work together in the house, or in the yard on Saturday mornings? Great, can you make it more special, memorable and important? Sure....Before you head out to work together, why not start a tradition of having a special pancake breakfast, or after working together come in and play a family game together. Do this every single Saturday and make it a ritual. Your kids will remember it their whole lives.
Even if you only have 15 minutes a day as a whole family. Make it the best 15 minutes possible. Be intentional about that time.
Second: Tame Technology and Carve time out from other activities.
Feel like you don't have any extra time for your family to be together. Tame technology and carve time out from other activities. This means turning off the TV, or the compter and putting that time towards family time. Think about it. If we just spent 15 minutes on Facebook instead of 30, that 15 minutes could go to family time. Same with our children and their video games or tv shows.
Where else in our schedules can we steal a few minutes? Step away from the technology and put that time towards being together.
We had a major discussion about this as a family last week. We usually do really well with not watching too much tv, but over the last 3 weeks or so, it was on more than usual. I could feel it stealing family time away from us. Last week we got back on track and reset the rules about tv watching. The extra time will now be spent playing games together. Yesterday our daughter said " this is way more fun than watching tv." She is right, it is "way more fun".
When we think about doing things together as a family, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Thinking we need to come up with more time and more money. That is not the case. Both of the above suggestions are very doable. Make better use of the time you already have together. Be more intentional about it. And second, turn off the technology and put that time to good use by doing things together as a family. The suggestions don't require any money, and they actually give you more time. They are small things that will transform our families.
Remember, being Intentional comes down to what we want the most, and then putting our energies and efforts towards that thing.
What time can you make better use of?
Do you think you can do this in your house?
Do you eat any meals together?
This year, in our family, and here on Family Volley, we are all about being INTENTIONAL. Why? Because it is the best, and it creates strong families. Want to read where it all starts? Click here to learn about you and your family's canoe. And click here to learn about the photo challenge that is helping us slow down and be more INTENTIONAL.