Yes, Your Family WILL Win Against the "Busy". Here's How.
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
I remember the first time I read this quote by Mother Teresa. I was at my dear friend’s house and noticed this little sign on her end table. I was just chasing my 2 year old around, barely noticed it, but then it caught me. The words stopped me in my tracks and truly made me catch my breath.
“…go home and love your family.” THAT is the key to changing the world. Really. That is IT. Changing the world begins in our homes, but not just in those walls, in the heart of our families.
Shouldn’t we all be caught by this quote and pause to think about what that means?
When I read those words, I was right on the edge of launching Togather Moments into the world. In fact, that day at my friend’s was the day I told her for the first time that I had created mealtime games that I knew were going to impact how families come together. I was sure it wasn’t a coincidence that I read that quote at just that point in my life.
I have always been one for savoring moments. I grew up in a home where my parents were all about making sure we had memories of the greatest childhood - and we do. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t without sacrifice and trials, but no denying it was built on a strong foundation of love and words spoken that shaped our character. Moments for which I am forever grateful.
Fast forward several decades and I am a mom of four. I am a wife of 15 years. We are caught up in the very busy life where some days it is just about survival and making sure we get the kids fed, get everyone where they need to be “on time”, and maybe remember to take a shower. Sound familiar?
Have we made our lives busy and crazy all by our own doing? Probably. But the truth is, I think many people are living the same way. If it isn’t exhaustion from running kids everywhere, it’s from our jobs, or stress from helping an elderly parent, or from financial strain, or just simply from not taking time to stop.
Whatever it is, distractions are everywhere and they silently creep into our homes and our families and steal the time we have for building moments that build strong foundations.
We’ve all heard the phrase “the days are long, but the years are short.” I’m going to be blunt -even if this is something we all know already. If we are not careful with how we are using our time together with our families, we are going to wake up after those ‘short years’ and regret that we let the distractions get in the way.
Believe me, I know as well as anyone that the busy is here to stay. And as the days go on, the busy gets busier. There are some things we will never be able to eliminate. But there are also many ways for us to make all the small moments count and take advantage of the time we DO have together for building that strong foundation we are all striving for.
When the waves crash around us and threaten to shake our foundation and you know you need to adjust, here’s what I know:
Make all the small moments count. Every single one.
Be selfish with family time. Instead of always inviting friends to go wherever you go, make it all about your family. Interact with the kids, play with them, talk to them. Don’t let one of your own adult friends take your time while you keep telling your child to “hold on”.
Say no to even good things. If your days are already struggling for family time, why do you keep volunteering for things that take you away? Evaluate that and see who really needs you and your time. Five years from now, who will your time matter more to?
Make family dinners HAPPEN. I’m the first to raise my eyebrows and think, “now how’s that going to work out?? We are all in 10 different places at dinner time!” Okay, but are you trying hard enough to gather your crew together when you ARE in the house at the same time? Are you enforcing the fact that when you don’t have a commitment, you are at home at a certain time having dinner? You need to. SCHEDULE IT. Even if it’s one day a week during your busy season, make. it. happen. Your table is THE number one place in your house where you have a captive audience ready to listen, connect, and grow stronger. You have got to take advantage of that.
I’m guessing if you are “busy”, you are probably spending a whole lot of time in the car driving people places. Make that time count. This is another prime spot for having a captive audience. Make it mandatory that no one can use a screen in the car. Tell stories, teach lessons, get to know one another. Five minutes is a long time to connect if done with intention.
Make it a comfortable and regular thing that you hang out in the same places together in your home. Don’t let habits form where family members go off to rooms by themselves to be isolated. Set rules about screen time.
I’m sure you and I could sit down and trade ideas of what works, but I think these are some easy ones that can be implemented immediately and really change the daily connections of a family.
A few months ago, I had to leave my house 12 different times in one day to get everyone where they needed to be. It was a crazy day and it stuck out to me because it was almost comical how many things fell on this one day. Days like that are going to happen many more times. I am sure of that.
The distractions are going to fight for our attention and it is certain they are going to threaten to steal our family time away and thus try very hard to weaken what we are building. Going home to love my family doesn’t mean we have to be Pinterest-perfect or have 7 nights of family dinners.
To us it means finding all the small moments and making them full of intention and meaning when we can. It means speaking words that build character and a rock solid foundation. It means lying in bed after a day of driving to 12 different places knowing that it’s okay - we’re going to be okay - because the moments we DO have together are being used for the greatest good. After all, it truly is about quality, not quantity.
We love our family fiercely and our actions and words prove it.
Now, go home and love your family in the most meaningful ways you can and change YOUR world. Mother Teresa got it exactly right.