Question:Our family is really busy. We are lucky to get a meal together during the week. I think it's taking a toll on our communication and our relationship. What can we do to get back that closeness we once felt?
It was that great "theologian" Flip Wilson who once said "if I had my life to live over again, I'm not sure I would have enough energy to do it." Your family's problem is almost everybody's problem. Most of us are trying to cram more involvement in our already over committed schedule. I believe the number one drain on families is this breathless pace in which we live our lives. You may not like my answer but here it goes.
- 1. Cut back, do less. Over commitment and fatigue will rob families of valuable communication and intimacy. I wonder how many children have crashed only because their family was so busy doing "good things" that no one had any time for each other. I personally have a tendency of getting over involved in "good things" like church work, community events, and helping neighbors move. When it's time for me to cut back, Cathy reminds me, "Jim, we have a Messiah. He's been doing GREAT for 2000 years, don't try to replace him! I keep this little phrase near my desk, "If the Devil can't make you bad, then he will make you busy."
2. Schedule family times. We all live with schedules. Let's put on the calendar family evenings and date nights with the kids. We have a "family fun day" at the Burns house that has become a real success. Our last family fun day was spent ice skating (that's a new experience for us Southern California types!). It had all the ingredients of success; we laughed, played, ate junk food, and the kids skated much better than Dad. The evening was spent around the fire eating popcorn and having a good time of communication.
Cathy and I believe that fun times together stimulate communication. Try it. Before you know it your kids will be out of the home. Spend time with them and don't forget that children regard your very presence as a sign of caring and connectedness.