Yes… this is important these days. We know how to focus on our office/school work and meet / beat the expectations! Do we know how to bond as a family as we grow older?
It is not new to anyone that we all know how to keep ourselves busy. Busy working, cleaning, organizing, helping, nurturing, cooking, binge watching TV shows, why even relaxing and sleeping also can be included in this… It just comes naturally! Coming up with a to-do-list or choosing not to do anything and just have a restful day comes so naturally.
So, when everyone has a different agenda and parents are supportive of their children’s dreams and focusing on their careers multi-tasking all possible responsibilities, how do we not drift apart. Key is – to make it a priority for someone in the household. Else, people do drift apart. What do I mean by drifting apart… let us do a simple exercise.
Ask everyone in the household to say ten things on the top of their mind that their day seems to revolve around. Of these things, how many overlaps are there across family members and the entire family. It gives a good indication of where each and every family member’s priorities lie. Students will be focusing on their studies, parents on working and financial freedom, relatives in their own lives, you get the drift. Now, intelligent folks will ensure they include what they are doing and what they want to do in their list. At least if one person in the family chooses “family” or “fun with family” then it does become a priority. Just to please them everyone comes together and that creates a beautiful bond.
If you feel re-bonding with your family can be made a priority, it is never too late. Start with these simple steps. Call it family projects.. every project needs time, effort and resources – so does every family project need these from every family member. In 2-3 weeks, you will see a difference – and a pleasant one 🙂
- Family project 1 – Play one board game every week – There are hundreds of board games, games that parents or grandparents have played in their childhood, games on mobile apps. Not suggesting outdoor games given the lockdown scenario! Every week can be a different game where one generation shares a game what they love or have played and teach it to the rest. First week will be tough with a lot of fights and giving-up, just stick through it to the next 2-3 weeks to see the difference.
- Family project 2 – Cook together at least once every week – Irrespective of the varied age groups, cooking is a life skill. It helps bond people across different generations. There is an age old saying – families that cook together stay together! Cook a different variety / cuisine or learn a variety of recipes. Make sure you distribute the workload across everyone – someone cuts, someone cleans, someone chooses the menu and someone sets up the table.
- Family project 3 – Watch a movie/TV series together – This is a REALLY TOUGH one, but surely helps building a nice bond – be it between friends or families. Choose to use a single device at home and takes turns to choose what you watch, but everyone watches the movie/TV series together. You choose to watch stuff together – that is a choice everyone must commit to make. When you sit and watch, comment, laugh and cry together, they not only build memories but strong bonds as well.
- Family project 4 – Device-free meal time – Very tough ask. It would hinder all of our multi-tasking abilities. Everyone will need to get out of their mental zone to get together at the dining table and chat about something common to everyone. Initial topics would revolve around difference of opinions and fights, go beyond that. Take help from your grandparents to suggest how to go about it. Involve them. Usually take-outs, favorite dishes, beautifully set table, fresh flowers, nice aroma of food help make a good segway. Key is to talk about what is happening in each others lives. As long as we bring each other up to speed on our day to day stuff, the chances of drifting apart reduces.
These are just a few for starters, once you get into the groove, every family finds something that is the common thread they all share. For some reading a book, painting, gardening, doing an office project together might turn out to be their way of re-bonding. It is up to the individuals in the family.
In essence, “Time” in our lives is what we would be willingly sharing to do something together making all of us feel involved in each others lives. We might be doing a lot of stuff “for” our families, just not doing it together “with” them which makes a big difference.
Have a talk with your family members and see if you can trigger a difference. If you are at crossroads and choose not to stay together, this post was not meant for you, nor intended to hurt your sentiments. However, there are families who would love to re-bond, this post is meant for them. My friend asked me to share these tips and I enjoyed writing this from my experience.
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