There are many people who like to write their list of resolutions and end up failing dreadfully within the first week or month (Be resolute with 2012 New Year’s Resolutions). However, the best remedy is not to create expectations that are too hard to live up to.
For example, many people who develop New Year’s Resolutions choose as one of their options, “spend more time with family members.” Putting this resolution down on paper might look good but to implement it into action will take time and work and effort.
This is a very good resolution to consider. However, we need to think hard on our lifestyles and what is within our control. If we “join a gym” to get fit while juggling a full time plus job and a spouse and/or kids, how will we be “spending more time with your family” if we join a gym that takes us away from the family?
Consider the other resolutions on your list and think how you can combine them in order to spend more time with the members of your family.
Did you choose to “lose weight”? Perhaps you can then talk other family members into exercising at home with you on a specific time and day. Remember in order not to fail at your resolution, you have to be very particular to exercise even though other members might be unavailable during one of the times. Nevertheless, exercising as a family could be extremely fun.
Another story I heard about a family spending more time together happened some years ago. On one stormy night, the lights went out in an area and one family, whose members were in various parts of the house, came together. They ended up learning that one son could play the guitar, another demonstrated a talent that they never knew, but the most important thing is they talked to each other without the distractions of electronic equipment. Ever after that, the family chose one day a week to have “the lights go out” and learn more about each other’s lives.
What takes you away from your family? Are you more interested in television – even if it is news and the newest record breaking football game – than in what your spouse or children have done that day? After long, hard hours at work, do you need your “me time” more than you need the “we time” in your family?
Think hard: Who really is raising your kids? The schools? The celebrities they read about and watch on television? The friends that you have never been quite sure about? Look at your children’s priorities and you will see who has had the most influence in their lives.
Quote from my mother, Helen Walsh Folsom: “One time when we were first parents with two small children, we decided to take the advice of others and left our kids at my mother’s house so my husband and I could go out. We were miserable the whole time because we knew the kids were probably not having fun. We never did leave them again.”
Make a plan
When considering this resolution, sit down with a pen and paper and write down your current schedule. Include your work hours and commute and sleep time. What hours do you really have left? If you are similar to all the other many millions of people whose employer expects 60-hour weeks with 40-hour pay, you probably do not have much time left.
If you are lucky, you might have three hours a day to get to know your family. Most people are not even that lucky. Add your kids’ extracurricular activities from school and then you do not even have that.
What if you do not have children? How do you and your spouse choose to learn more about each other? There are many things that are recorded that break up a marriage including money, infidelity, and now, of all things, computer games!
Why was your spouse looking for something else in their lives? Were they not getting the emotional satisfaction that came during your courting period? Many broken couples say they just “grew apart.” If the spouses had taken more time to talk and share their lives with each other, do you think that really would have become an issue? Or even money would become an issue if the couples discussed with each other on how best to live within their means? (Considered reading: The Love Dare Book)
What about weekends? What is your priority for a “relaxing” weekend? Golf? Chowin’ down on BBQ with your best buds in front of a sports game on the television? Going out with the other “gals” for a shopping spree?
Will vacation time make up for every day time?
You could say, “Well, my family and I take good vacations together.”
Well, congratulations! You have just put your family on hold for several months to go on a – probably expensive – vacation where you and the family will be looking at something else instead of each other.
Will you be sharing the day-to-day experiences while slipping down the water slide? Will you know that your son or daughter has had a hard day with a teacher? Or someone has made fun of them that really hurt? Or perhaps they learned something new in school that might affect their entire outlook on life?
I sincerely doubt it.
Other family members to remember
For the most part, this article has concentrated on direct families when considering the resolution, “spending more time with family members.” However, do not discount the other members that make up a family and have contributed. For example, your parents.
Sometimes while earning a living, taking care of kids, and trying to remember who you are, you are likely to forget or take for granted those who made you the person you are. Whether you had a happy childhood or not is not the question. The fact remains that life is fleeting. Have you really had a chance to get to know your parents and why they chose the pathways they chose while you were growing up? Your children need to meet your parents and need this connection with the past to understand their future and how they might want to change it.
Start on the right path
Choosing this resolution and planning to stick with it takes dedication and commitment. While making plans to “spend more time with family members” might sound good on paper, what will you be doing to put this in action?
Consider . . . where will you be spending New Year’s Eve? Will the children be at a baby sitter or with you drinking eggnog and clanging pots and pans as you ring in a New Year?
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14
I would like to hear from you. Be sure to comment in the area below on how you plan to implement this New Year’s Resolution. Bettse
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