I ran into a friend who filled me in on some distance/frustration/angst within his family. After his transparent sharing, he went practical asking, “Do you have ideas on what I should do?”
Mending wounded relationships is NOT simple and Band-Aids are rarely effective, but there are some simple, practical, and transforming actions that can be taken to change the environment within your home.
Try these five actions for a week and see if the temperature in your home doesn’t change a little. Plus, even if your relational temperature is “fine,” these ideas may make it even better.
1. Leave the phone in the car. When you come home from work, it’s too simple to get lost in texting, checking, and reading from the phone. Don’t make the mistake of believing you are so critical to the world that you must be accessible at all times. Leave the phone in the car while you need to be focusing on your family.
2. Close your laptop. Computers are wonderful. But, when the computer is on, I’d swear that it calls my name incessantly, “Hey Doug! Yoo hoo! I know you’re there! Pay attention to me!” It’s too easy to come home and “get lost” in the computer that’s always on and calling your attention (blogs, email, Quicken, etc…). Turn it off and see if you can turn on some dialogue with your spouse and kids.
3. Show up on time. If you tell your family that you’ll be home by 6pm… get home. Not 6:30…not even 6:05. If you make a commitment to your family, honor it. It’s amazing what simple actions will communicate about love and respect.
4. Reduce TV time by half. I’m not asking you to become Amish and ditch all TV. I’m suggesting that you cut your viewing time in half. Many of us eat dinner while watching TV. Instead, try turning it off so that you can engage in dinner conversation with your family.
5. Write short notes. The emphasis on this is “short”… I’m not suggesting two pages, typed out, double-spaced. What if you left your one of your kids a short note every day for a week? Short words of affection and encouragement can be powerful. And, if it’s not a regular practice, these notes will become treasures.