For many of us, perhaps most of us, our families come first, before all the other important things in life. But does our behavior reflect that belief?
Although most people would say that nothing is more important than their families, day-to-day behavior can tell another story. As Jennifer James, a former Seattle columnist, once pointed out, “When we’re moving fast, sometimes the relationships we care most about get short shrift. We think those we love will forgive us if we spend most of our time on other things. But a child may grow up before we notice that the hours of being too busy have extended into days, weeks, months and years.” Parents think there will be time to pull it back together. But often, they are incorrect.
James reminds us that, “There are ways to give time and interest to children, family and friends even when every minute seems loaded.” For example, you can turn off the TV or close down the laptop when a loved one is talking to you. Move away from the temptation of email, Facebook, Instagram and the like. Video games can get put aside for a few moments. The simple gesture of looking directly at someone and stopping what you’re doing for a few minutes, while they’re talking, says they are important to you.
With school back in session, our children are being pulled in many directions with after-school activities, homework, friends, social media. Many families don’t gather around the table for meals anymore. We need to find alternative, everyday ways to really be with each other, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time, if we’re going to stay close and feel like a family.
And while some folks might think it antiseptic and distant, it’s time to use today’s technologies as an instant way of staying in touch. Let’s make technology work for us. The simple text, “Thinking of you. Love you. See you soon,” lightens the heart and puts a smile on a loved one’s face. After all, it is about the connections, yes?