Last week we considered how family relationships might benefit from the use of intentionality on our time management. We asked you to consider:
Instead of being caught up in the tidal wave of urgency, what might happen if we commit to being intentional about allotting our time? Track actual time expenditure for one week. What did you notice? What changes or adjustments would benefit your family? What grabbed the main share of time? What got squeezed out?
Take a deep breath, and with your mind firmly engaged in neutrality, let's look at the results. Because it is so important, let's remember our two parameters: neutrality and intentionality. Let's look at what actually happened...
But first, if you "meant" to take this on but then didn't follow through, what got in the way? With your "neutral" lenses on, examine the answer. Are the obstacles work related, household responsibilities and/or habits like TV, social media, etc? Determine how these activities both devour your time and also provide some benefit. Identify a way that you might accomplish the same result AND allow you to connect with your family. (Turn off the inner voice that tells you it's impossible; after all, we are talking about only a one week challenge.)
If you did complete the Intentionality Challenge, what did you notice in the following areas?
That's a lot of evidence to sift through. Acknowledge even the tiniest positive shift. Notice what supported your resolve as well as what distracted or impeded you. Consider repeating your practice for another week. What changes in approach will you make. What might happen if you share your intention with your partner? With your children? As you contemplate this idea of a communal declaration, what is your physical and emotional response? Use the information that provides to you to help understand and reveal the entrenched patterns that might complicate or defeat your new intention.
Week 2 Challenge: For one (two!) hours each evening, promise yourself to place your phone, computer, laptop, etc. out of reach, out of sight, out of earshot. Choose to use that window of time to be available to your family. (Remember you are also modeling for your kids how technology must be a part of their life and not the
totality of their life. This lesson alone is huge.)
So how will you use this time slot? Perhaps it's as simple as lingering at the table, extending their bath-time play, reading an extra book, or pausing at the bedside. Group activities like a family board game might be suited to some families. Others might know that's a disaster waiting to happen. Think beyond the predictable. Go outside and stargaze. "Cook" instant pudding together and then eat it. (Heck, my kids used to enjoy finger painting with it in the bathtub!) For older kids, listen--without critical commentary--to your teen's favorite song. Ask them what it means to them. You get the idea. Tie into your creativity.
This challenge is not meant to impose togetherness but rather to create the space for it. The result may not fulfill your highest expectation but it will reflect your intention; your family will feel the first whisper of change. Why not start today? Undivided attention and time is one of the most precious gifts we can offer our children. Who knows where this new path may lead your family?