I’ve been thinking about small changes lately. Small changes with big impact. Small changes that, when thought of as a “family concept”, seem kind of silly, but when made an actual goal, can totally, radically, change the tide of your home life.
Because it’s so easy to let life get “busy” and lose sight of living.
So, if you’ll allow me to suggest, consider topping your busy to do list with these things. Fill your priority lines with these, and give all the cleaning, cooking, working, driving, shopping, etc a lesson in humility by putting them in the back seat! I’m working on them, and I’m fairly certain we might find some radical improvement in our joy, our patience, and our connection as a result.
8 Things To Top Your To Do List:
Just listen. To someone, or better, to everyone, for at least a few minutes. Full attention. As much openness and empathy as you can muster for those few minutes. Ask a question and actually wait for an answer. Listen. This used to be easy, but after a few days, weeks, months…years…..of tuning out to keep on rolling, it’s way more difficult now. So it’s the #1 goal for me. Actually Listen.
2. Make Eye Contact.
This is especially important while listening. But it’s good, even if no words are being exchanged. How often does your spouse leave for work with no more than a distracted “Bye, love you,” without even looking up? I want to look at my husband. Look at my daughter. Look into their eyes, and wait for them to look back. It shakes things loose in the heart, it really does.
3. Lovingly touch everyone in your family at least once.
Human beings need touch. Like need it to survive. So make a point to help them stay alive: touch them! Hugs, kisses, arm pats, back rubs, even a high five. IT COUNTS.
Bonus- Kids will freak out less when they stumble or hurt themselves if they have consistent access to your attentive physical affection daily. <– This is big. And cool, right? Don’t you want fewer tears and less drama? They will not feel the need for excessive comforting over a minor injury if they feel just as loved during lunch, outside, at night, etc, when everything is well.
4. Laugh with each person in your family at least once.
Can we be real? This is NOT as easy as it sounds. Especially if you have a big family. It is shockingly easy in our family of three to go an entire day without an actual, full conversation with every member of our family, much less a playful, funny one! Amiright? But just think about how many “off” moments would be avoided, how much stress would be relieved, if there was a joyful connection point every single day with your family?
Mmhmm. That sounds good. I’m going for it!
5. Smile at someone for no reason.
Especially a stranger. But if you aren’t leaving the house, extra smiles will do nothing but good for you children. It takes less than 10 seconds. But think about everything that changes with a smile: Eye contact is happening, so you’ve just validated, acknolwedged, and humanized a person who may not experience that from anywhere else today. And we all know that research says smiling actually makes you feel happier, too. Bonus points.
6. Practice a PAUSE at least once.
Maybe this one should have been first? It’s kind of a pre-requisite for all the others. But hustle and bustle by definition mean no pausing. Which often means very little conscious, intentional reflection or action. It’s hard to re-learn how to pause, but there are few more important changes I think I could make to my life. A pause allows me to remember what’s important To make a decision about where I want to take a conversation, a moment, an action. To choose to reject something negative.
But it is going to need practice.
7. Say YES to something.
Preferably lots of somethings. But especially when you have little ones in the house, it can be remarkably easy to slip into a “No/Don’t/Stop that” rut, don’t you think?
Make a commitment to break that rut AT LEAST once every single day and say a resounding YES to something!
8. Say these words: “How Can I Help?”
I heard this on the radio the other day- “The 4 Words That Can Change Your Relationship.” Whether its with my husband or my kids, I can only imagine the transformations that might occur. The real magic, I think, is in what it requires of your attitude to even attempt this one. It’s basically an exercise in unselfishness, right?