With a new year comes a lot of excitement! The feeling of a fresh start in many areas of our lives, planning for future events and adventures, new goals, and more! Everyday is a blessing! While we welcome in the New Year don’t forget to reflect on the many blessings that you have enjoyed over the past year(s). I encourage you to initiate a conversation with your family (it can be during a family dinner, game night, or any good time when everyone is present). During this family time focus on these three things as a family to start off your New Year right. This time together will make a positive impact on the hearts and lives of each individual family member and is worth it:
- Reflect back the fun memories and blessings of 2016! Often the hardest part with this stage is getting the ball rolling. Before the family time create a list of several good family memories to get it started. Mention one and let others input their memories tied into that event as well as start adding their own memories. Give everyone a chance who wants to talk the opportunity. If there is a pause bring up a different memory to keep them going. Before long you’ll be laughing and the kids will be bringing up memories connected to the event or new ones that you forgot about. This is a wonderful way to end a year and begin a new one.
- Take a moment to think about the tough times over the past year! While the harder times are not easy to deal with or will bring back sadness or emotions they still have an impact on our lives. Sometimes during these times of discussion you realize that a family member is still struggling with something. Whether it is grief over a lost pet or loved one, anger, frustration, or something else. This is a good time to gauge how everyone is doing and give you an opportunity to encourage each other or help those family members heal. The love and support you receive from those around you can make an incredible impact on your life as you continue to move forward. Knowing you are not alone, you are loved, and you have a team of people who want to help you can help the family member heal more quickly. (Do not use this time to point out problems with each other, but to talk about harder times and to encourage. Some topics made need to be tabled for a later and more lengthy conversation) It will give you a good insight into your children and some ideas of what to help encourage them with over the next few weeks as they continue to grow and heal.
- Look ahead! As one year wraps up and a new one begins it is a great time to set some goals both personally and as a family. Use this time to set family goals together. There may be some activities that the kids have been wanting to do, but you have been letting it slip not even realizing that it was very important to them. The goals discussed during this family time should be family related, although they most definitely have a personal impact on each family member. Write these goals down and review them weekly or monthly or regularly throughout the year to remind the family members of what is important to the family as a whole. This also provides a lead in for each of the members to think about their personal goals. It allows a great opportunity to have a group of people focused on similar goals and encouraging each other along the way. Some family goal ideas (eat healthier, regular family game night, monthly date night with spouse and each child, daily family devotions, learn a new skill together, plan a family vacation, weekly family night, quarterly family service project, etc…). Make a point to write the ideas down and either make a decision that day or within a few days on the family goals. Type up a list, print it or email it to each family member so that they can be reminded of the ways your family is working together to create stronger bonds, happy memories, and improving lives.
Setting aside a time when everyone is together can be difficult, however it is important. It can be during a family dinner, game night, or another time when the family is together. Make sure it is a convenient time with as little distractions as possible. A time when everyone is more relaxed (not hungry, ready for bed, or trying to multi-task while having this conversation). The reflecting on memories helps create a happy bond, the tough times allow family members to see that they are not alone and have the support of people who love them, and looking ahead gives you the opportunity to improve and grow into a better individuals and family unit. If you do write down the family goals please do your best to follow through as much as possible because these goals are important to the members.
Life has a way of staying busy. Taking the time to spending reflecting on good memories as a way has a way of bringing everyone together. It may cause some laughter, tears, and healing. It is good to be reminded of the many blessings in our life and to realize that we are journeying through this life together. Yes, we make mistakes along the way, but we can can make the best of it and have a lot of fun too. Many blessings to you and your family this 2017 New Year!!!
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