Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.
I watch parents with young children and sense that some think the road will get a little easier when their children are older. I just smile to myself as I scroll through my phone to see how long it has been since I called or texted my grown children or my parents. Keeping connected with our family members is always challenging due to the pressures of life, regardless of our age or status in life. If we are going to have meaningful and loving relationships, it will be because we choose to invest the time and effort. This commitment is true from the very beginning of our relationship with our newborn and continues … always.
Often what we enjoy doing, what we do best, or what is easiest for us are the things we do first without giving a thought about where we are investing our time. I am a list maker, and I love marking things off of my list. When I find an old list, I often shutter at how many things on it added absolutely no value to my life or to anyone else’s life. Too many times, I have said, “I’ll call just this one client while she plays on the slide” or “I’ll send just this one text while I am bathing them.” How purposeful have I been about planned connections with those I love and cherish?
What I have discovered is that a pattern continues unless the pattern is broken. So often, tasks feel urgent but are not really that important. Connection takes time. If we are going to truly enjoy those we love, we must make them a priority in our lives. This means that we set aside the other “important” things and focus on those we love. I feel like I am living a balanced life when I see dates and other plans with my husband, children, grandchildren, and parents written into my calendar.
I can say from experience that these moments that truly matter will not occur if we do not focus on planned purposeful, connections. These connections might be as simple as committing to be totally present for one hour a day in the backyard, at the park, or in the family room with your children. It might mean turning off all electronics from 5:30-8:00 pm and talking, running, playing, and enjoying each other before bedtime. Perhaps it means planning special weekends and doing something each day that builds up to those weekend plans. Every family is different, and only you know what planned, purposeful connections mean for your family. What I know for sure is thatit is up to you to make it happen.