Getting the Family You Want

If you could wave a magic wand and have the family you want, what would it be like?  Would you eat more dinners together, go to church together on Sundays, or spend Saturdays volunteering at a local soup kitchen?

We often get so busy in our day-to-day routines that we forget what is really important.  We go from one activity to another and never stop to spend quality time with the people we love most.

Ten years from now you will likely care more about the date nights you had with your spouse than nights you worked late at the office.  You will care more about the dinners you had together as a family than running your children from one activity to another.

This is not to say that working hard at the office or encouraging your children to participate in extra-curricular activities is not important.  What matters is keeping everything in perspective and investing your time in what will be meaningful to you and your family members in five, ten, fifteen years down the road.

How is it possible to carve out quality time?  First, sit down with your spouse or partner and decide what family values, traditions, and activities are most important to you.  What are the things you will be proud of having done when you look back over your life twenty years from now?  What are the activities your children need to spend time doing to develop their sense of character, integrity, and altruism?  Second, make a list of how all family members currently spend their time.  Third, in thinking about your ideal family situation, make a list of the following: 1) activities to do less of or stop doing altogether, 2) activities to begin doing, and 3) activities that you already do that you would like to do more often.  It may be helpful to write your ideas down as this helps solidify them and will give you a visual of your goals, as well as something to refer back to in the future.  You may even want to revisit this list once a year to take stock and see how you are doing.

Today, we can lead such hectic lives that spending more time with family may seem like an unattainable dream.  However, it is possible to increase meaningful time with those closest to you—and often without radically altering your schedules or spending a great deal of money.  All it takes is some thought and planning.  I encourage you to start making memories and building your legacy today.  I am willing to bet that in the years ahead you will not look back and wish you had spent less time with your family.

Article was published in the September 2012 issue of Orlando Family Magazine.


Yolanda Brailey