Appreciate your family. Families are not always perfect, and many are far from it. However, it a chaotic and sometimes cold world; the family can be the pillar of hope and love. Not everyone comes from the iconic American Families we see in The Waltons or on Little House on the Prairie, but that doesn’t mean we cannot strive for this kind of mutual respect and love between our own families. We can learn to love, forgive and be there for each other through the strength of God and the church, which directs our lives towards service and striving to be the best we all can be for the greater good of humanity.
In the rush of daily life, online demands, work and keeping up with the Jones’ it is hard to find time to connect. Even when present, our minds often drift elsewhere. The family unit can struggle. More often than not, several members living in the same house can be “plugged in” and “tuned out.” We need to get back together. Finding time to cook together, do chores together, play together, and have family meals together are simple ways to get back to simply being with each other. Having “tech-free” zones in the house, such as the dinner table or family room, reminds us to put the technology away and tune back into each other.
One of the things families in previous generations did a lot more of is talk. Whether on a porch, taking a stroll, working outside, or sitting around a table, families talked with one another. Try to make an effort to start open-ended conversations the require speech and follow up questions. Instead of, “How was your day?” Ask, “What was the best part of your day?” Or, “What was the worst part?” Be curious about each other. Questions can then lead to follow up questions and adding personal connections. Ask simple questions to show interest in each other. How are some issues you and your friends are concerned about lately? All generations can weigh in on this and add to a fruitful conversation.
It doesn’t matter the topic, just get more in the habit of knowing each other and talk together.
There is nothing like working together as a family to accomplish a task. Gathering and stacking wood, planting and weeding a garden, lawn care, etc. When the whole family contributes to the homestead, everyone feels important and valued. Find tasks the family can do together that involved both hands - no free hands for cell phones! Chat as you work. Laugh and appreciate each other - even if the job is imperfect, honor the effort.
Return to Routines:
Make some time-honored or tradition honored routines. Schedules should not be set in stone but should be predictable enough to provide stable comfort to children. Have set times for work, play, meals, and homework helps to provide structure and safety in an ever-changing, unpredictable world. Think about fond memories of routines that helped to provide stability in your life and to enact those same safeguards in your family.
Back to Church: What?
Yes. I said it. Though it is not deemed “cool” or “new age” or “up with the times,” try giving the family routine of attending church a chance. Instead of sleeping in, perusing the internet, or even working, try bringing your family to church. Get to know some fellow churchgoers. Get back to the basic values you want to instill in your family. What better place to start than at a Christian church! You can get dressed up for God and meet some genuine people who will likely bring out the best in you! Many churches need volunteers or help, so it probably won’t be long before being asked to use your gifts and talents to help others! It will feel pleasant to give back and be part of a God-fearing healthy community of people who would like to be their best. No one is perfect, but the ideal effort is perfect for you to try. Be your best for your family, and start to build your family on the cornerstone of the church.
Remove Distractions and Obstacles:
When deciding to simplify life, there are always distractions and reasons why today is not the day or the hour is not the hour to do so. There are so many distractions that keep us from the path we are trying to stay on. Stay the course. REcognize things that are pulling you from what you intend to accomplish. Be mindful of distractions that fill your life with darkness, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or despair. The media, the internet, and screens can fill us with fear or frustration. Turn it off. Choose to be outdoors. Choose to appreciate the natural wonders around you. Pick up an excellent book that can inspire you to do your best and be your best, not your worst. Share the ideas you’ve gained and encourage goodness in others. Focus your energy on loved ones in your life and live a life you’re proud to model. Be the model for goodness and light in your family. The family can continue to be the pillar of faith, hope, and love in a world trying to destroy it. Family first!
~Amanda Allison, M.Ed.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Amanda Allison