Melissa over at Organized Life by Design has chosen to make me the featured member this month. As a result, she asked me to create a blog post over there about ways to keep families connected. I am not sure if non-members can read the blogs over there, so I'll copy it down below in case anyone is interested.
When Melissa asked me to be a feature member of the month here, naturally I was very honored. She asked me to write a blog post about ways to bring your family closer together. Initially I didn’t think that would be very difficult, as that’s one of the things I DO as a Once Upon a Family consultant. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there isn’t really a simple, cookie-cutter answer to that question. Families are complex, ever-changing, and so dependent upon the various personalities of the members of that family. What works for me might work for some of those reading this, but not others. Some of you might read my ideas and think they are cheesy, and on some level I guess they are. But I think that there is some level of cheesiness necessary to make life fun, and to make family life memorable. So I just ask that if you’re skeptical about some of these ideas, give them a try. You (and your family) might just surprise yourself!
1. Have a family questions night. Have everyone in the family write down three random questions that everyone in the family has to answer. These could be silly things like “what’s the absolute best meal you’ve ever had?” or more serious things like “name two goals you have for your life” or though provoking things like “what are your favorite four qualities about each member of our family?” Asking questions like these that you normally wouldn’t think to ask can provide awesome insight into the other people you share your house with, particularly the kids, who often come up with some very surprisingly deep answers.
2. Start a “pebble jar”. Get an inexpensive glass jar with a lid, and 52 small decorative rocks (Walmart is a great place for both of these things.) Put all the rocks in the jar, and once a week over dinner, take out one rock and pass it around the table, with each person saying what their favorite thing that happened that week was. This helps all the members of your family remember to focus on the good things that are going on around them and be grateful for what they have.
3. Honor the little things. In my house, when one of the kids does something that displays one of the character traits that we’re trying to teach, we’ll do a little honor ceremony over dinner, lighting a candle for them and presenting to them a key with that character trait engraved on it. For example, if one of the kids picks up all the dog toys and puts them away without being asked, they might be given the key of Responsibility for the evening. It never ceases to amaze me what a huge incentive such a simple thing can be.
4. Take the time. There will ALWAYS be things you should be doing (you should probably be doing them now, rather than reading this, right?) But at the end of the day, what matters more – that your kitchen floor got mopped, or that you took fifteen minutes to play checkers with your son? When your children grow up, do you want them to look back and say that mom always made sure the laundry was folded? Or do you want them to look back and remember a mom who enjoyed spending time with them just having fun?
So there you have it. I could probably go on and on, but I’ll save that for a future post.