Three Buckets of Encouragement for a New School Year – Part Two

Bucket #2: “Maintaining space in our family schedule so we don’t miss connecting with each other.”

We all experience the grief of time passing quickly and opportunities lost in the kerfuffle of family living.

I encourage you to try two simple yet powerful ways to save you from the grief of lost time.

  • Family Meetings – Set a regular time to gather around and talk through your schedule and goals as a family. Ask each person to share where they are feeling challenged and what they are excited about. What should your family do more of? Less of? Create a family mantra for the season: Is it your season to save money for a big vacation? Or to play more together? Or maybe to focus on being outside more? Post your mantra where you can see it each day. Over time, these conversations help you slice and dice your schedule so it’s filled with only what truly feeds your family.

Tip: Listen closely to your children as they share their thoughts. Even 3 year olds have important ideas. Be ready to be surprised.

  • Family Dinners – Several years ago I asked our children how we know if we are doing okay as a family. They all said, “We’re doing okay when we’re having Family Dinners.” Family Dinner is when everyone is at the table and there is intentional conversation, enjoyment and peace. Not every dinnertime needs to be a “Family Dinner.” With sports, jobs and social lives, it’s probably impossible each day of the week. But, make a decision together and choose which days are secured for Family Dinner. Will you have three Family Dinners per week? Four? You don’t have to be a chef or even like cooking. Family Dinner just means the table is set, a candle is lit, there is food to share and everyone is present, together and curious. Some of our Family Dinners lasted only 20 minutes but those minutes mattered.

Tip: Be ready to spark the conversation. Put question cards under each person’s placemat. Or play “High/Low” – each person says a high and a low of their day. Another favorite is to play RoseBud – each person says a good thing happening in their life right now (rose); a hard thing (thorn); and something they are looking forward to (bud).

Tomorrow: Encouragement for Bucket #3.