How to Stay Connected as a Family in a Way That Really Matters

(4 Minute Read)

Have you ever had a moment in your life that you might say defined your steps from that point forward? Maybe it was a conversation, or maybe it came from song lyrics that just went right to the deepest part of your heart or maybe it was something your child said that changed your perspective. For me it was something spoken by someone I don’t even know.

Photography by Lori Hill Photography, Cincinnati, OH

Photography by Lori Hill Photography, Cincinnati, OH

I can remember my husband coming home from work years ago and sharing this “aha” moment with me. We only had a 3 and 2 year old then. He told me of a meeting he had with a client that day at work. This man said something so simple, yet so profound. He said that each summer when each of his three children were sixteen years old, they got to go on a weekend away alone with just Dad. The reason he started this was because he wanted to make sure he had alone time at a defining point in their lives, but also – and here’s the “aha” moment for me – because we only have about twelve summers with our kids. "That doesn't make sense??"  But here’s the deal: The first few summers, you are just trying to make sure they stay safe and survive. By the time they are three years old, you start making memories and having fun with them. (Not that you didn’t make memories before, but we all know how crazy it is entertaining and watching a one or two year old.) So you have “summers” with them beginning at age three and by the time they are about 14, they are probably sick of hanging out with mom and dad alone and you are sharing and competing for time against their friends. And when they get their driver’s license, forget it.

So did you hear that? Twelve summers. TWELVE. That conversation was a gut punch to me. Here I was feeling like I was just surviving motherhood to toddlers and babies and then I realized how many moments I had taken for granted. Well, that wasn’t happening any more. I vowed to myself, in that conversation with my husband, to do things differently and look at life raising my babies and building our family differently. That doesn’t mean I started doing themed crafts with my kids every day or going family berry picking every Saturday or making scrapbooks during nap. (Yeah, those things still don’t happen.) But I did begin to just change my perspective and try to savor each moment. I began to really enjoy and live in each day or even minute with my children instead of getting caught up in daily frustrations or the mundane routine. Those seemingly boring moments have turned out to be some of my sweetest memories.

Are we perfect at family communication and game night and gourmet meals? No way! I can still be seen turning on the television as a “babysitter” or grabbing take out because I am too tired to make dinner. But I think the difference now is that when we are together as a family – whether it is only two of us at a time or all six of us – we all try very hard to make it count. I don’t want to look back months or years from now and realize there are too many things we never did or said.

You always hear “experts” or your best friend or your mom tell the importance of family dinner time. Well, I don’t think it takes an expert to know that this is the best time for families to connect. I also know that the reality is that some families can’t do this because they barely have enough time to say “hello” when they are coming and going. Then when they are together, the temptation of technology and devices takes over.

Why is it that you can walk into any restaurant on any given night, see a table full of family members and they’re all staring at their screens? Is it that they have nothing to talk about? Or that they just don’t know any other way at this point? The reality is, and we all know it, that when communication within families breaks down, the family itself faces a threat of breaking down.

There has to be a better way to help families stay connected in a way that really matters. A way that connects you and makes you beat the distractions. A way that can take the short moments you have together and multiply them to make you feel like you just spent hours laughing and talking together. A way that makes you cherish those twelve summers with your kids because you realize not to take anything for granted anymore. Enter Togather.

Luke 8: 5-8, 15 says:

“A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds…ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold…but as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and yield a harvest through their perseverance.”

The time we have with our family is the time we are given to plant these seeds. What we do with that precious time determines how rich we can make the soil of our family. And when our family gathers those moments and uses them for good, the harvest will be plenty.

May Togather be a welcomed addition to your meal time – at home or out at restaurants. May Togather provide much laughter, joy, and memories for your family and may you never take for granted your twelve summers of planting and harvesting – and all of the seasons in between and thereafter.

Come with us Togather, Together, To Grow. You won’t regret it.