Learn three practical ways to strengthen your family relationships.
In an ever-changing world with constantly shifting trends, there are some things that you should hold fast to. Family and the power of personal relationships are two elements that are often brushed off to the tend to seemingly endless emails, text messages, work deadlines and social media.
Now, more than ever, families need to stop focusing on the extemporaneous influences and start turning inward towards each other. What can families do to strengthen the ties that bind? Religion and spiritual practice have been at the center of many conflicts, and yet they may be the very thing that can bring you back to the very thing that helps ground and center you.
1. The Family That Prays Together
Regardless of what your denomination or belief system is, there is a good chance that you believe in something greater. Even if you do not attend a regular church or temple service, you can still practice your faith at home.
Resources, such as those provided by The Way International can help give you the tools to help unite your family around a common practice: prayer. Incorporating children into prayer can seem tricky at first, especially if they are not accustomed to it or do not really understand the meaning behind it.
You can start off by asking your children to think of something they think is important, like food or a home. Now, gather around and create a simple prayer revolving around those two elements.
Add your own intentions so they can hear what prayer sounds like. The more you practice prayer, at mealtimes and otherwise, the more used to the practice they will get.
2. Make Gratitude Prominent
Whether you have small children or tweens, they are constantly bombarded with negativity. Television running news cycles about violence, hate, and death all convey messages of heartache and sorrow.
Creating an attitude of gratitude around your home, centered on giving thanks for good things in life will help counteract the lasting effects of negativity and a self-centered view of the world. Every evening start out by asking everyone to think of three things they are grateful for.
It can be something as simple as a favorite stuffed animal or deeper such as a friend’s improved health. You can decide as a family whether you want to share these aloud or keep them private and remain silent while everyone says these internally.
It won’t take long before you notice an improved attitude centered more around the positive instead of the negative.
3. Lead by Example
Your kids look at you for much of their behaviors and beliefs, especially at developing ages. If you eat broccoli enthusiastically, your 5-year-old son is more likely to do the same. It is easy to become lost and buried in technology instead of present and attentive.
If you spend hours on the phone scrolling through news feeds and tweets, your kids will likely spend the same amount of time on their tablets doing the same thing. Make a real effort to have digital free days, whether that is during the week or on a weekend day.
Set screen limits for yourself as well as your kids. If they notice you are putting your electronics down at the same time, they will be more apt to think of it as a good exercise instead of punishment.
Fill the time instead with a family activity, like a board game, or spend some of it reading. Books and resources make great alternatives to mainstream media. During this time your family can start to build a more spiritually centered home filled with honesty, understanding and love.
During difficult times, people tend to reach for something to provide comfort. Try to ensure that your kids understand how important your family unit is and that it is there to rally around and help during trying times. Building a practice of prayer, gratitude and quality time can help drive home the importance of putting family first.