Nurturing Family Relationships
In honor of Mother’s Day, a simple ‘Retreat at Home’ tip to nurture our family relationships.
Maybe your family includes lots of extended family, near and far; maybe you have a close circle of friends that surround you like family; maybe its you and your husband; or maybe it’s something else… whatever family situation you might have, do you ever think about how often you take the time to actually listen to what those closest to you have to say? Of course, it’s convenient and “efficient” to listen as you do a load of laundry and put the dishes in the dishwasher, but is that really listening?
In the harsh reality of technology and social media, it’s tempting to let all of our interactions take place as posts or texts. Nothing can take the place of one-on-one personal interaction, yet we spend so much of our time together glued to the devices that surround us: phones, computers, tvs, you name it. Connection is so important to us as humans that it’s been scientifically proven that physical touch (hugging, pats on the back, high fives, and loving kisses) is healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally (read an article on “That human touch that means so much”).
Try These Tips to Intentionally Connect One-on-One
Be Present Be still, intentional, and present; watch the speaker’s lips or focus on a single point; focus on listening and give what you can in response. Avoid multi-tasking and indicate you are listening – maybe it’s a touch, a nod, a smile, or a few words of perspective.
Avoid Planning Don’t do that thing where as the other person talks you are planning what YOU will say. Let this conversation be about them. Know that every conversation isn’t about something that needs to be fixed. Sometimes we’re needed to just listen. The conversation can take place at the kitchen table, at a restaurant, or as you enjoy a walk together. Now’s not the time to think about feeding the cat or what’s for dinner or what else you could be doing.
Make it Personal If getting together in person isn’t an option, a phone call is better than a long drawn out texting conversation. Not a phone call while you’re driving or folding laundry. A phone call where you can focus your full attention on the conversation.
Don’t Put it Off There is no better time to connect with the important people in your life than right now. Before you get busy with summer activities or the holidays are upon you and you wonder where all the time has gone. The pile of laundry can wait. Your loved ones shouldn’t have to.
When you listen intentionally you are not only giving the gift of yourself to another, you are receiving so much in return. Moments in the company of your loved one are priceless. Enjoy them while you can.