“I can’t pinpoint the moment it happened because, after all, erosion is so much harder to recognize than earthquake damage.” – Kevin Salwen
Disengaged, distracted by our various technological devices, “busy” with our own work, agendas, extracurricular activities, constantly enticed by a consumer agenda of “more”- it is dangerously easy for modern life to cause our family relationships to erode.
So how do we recognize erosion before we’re faced with earthquake damage? The start of a new year is a great time to take a family “inventory”. This inventory involves stepping off the treadmill long enough to reflect and answer a simple question: How are we doing?
Recently, when Christian and I asked this question, it became clear that we were not doing great. Distracted, disengaged, and entrenched in various rationalizations of “busy”, we were far from describing our family life as thriving. As our boys developed new interests and greater independence, and we allowed our own work demands to take over, it began to feel like we were on a path that we had not intended to take- one that prioritized productivity over connection. The hardest part of this realization is that we were the problem. As parents, we set the tone, and we were not setting a good one. Ouch.
But, with newfound clarity, we can begin again. We can choose to do less and listen more. We can build rhythms of restoration and connection into our family lives and choose to take the hard but more rewarding path of living more intentionally among the people we are entrusted to and who have been entrusted to us. Whether it’s a New Year or a new week, we can all do this.
Even better news- we don’t have to do it alone. Here are some great resources, along with one inspirational story, to help your family thrive this year, and beyond:
How Your Family Can Live a Richer Story in 2020: Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni
Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons
The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen