Think back to when you were close to graduating high school. You probably wanted to go far away, travel and live the campus life. In our youth most of us want to move away from home, and our parents and their rules. But something happens to us after we are no longer living with our parents. We miss the food, the routines, the reminders to clean our room; the safety net. However much we want this re-connection with our family, we can become distant and too “busy” as adults.
I stood home for college and my parents respected my independence, so I loved the experience. I would go to class and work, go out with friends, and they would just remind me to call them if I were coming back late. Once I met my now fiancee, I was spending more time out. I worked and spent more days away from them. I began to miss them and they me.
We all have different projects that pull our focus, we all have many commitments that lead to our next “step”. New jobs, two jobs, school, children, but our families, our tribe is what nourishes us to be successful in all aspects of our lives.
Time is still abundant, and we will reap great rewards when we make time for our families. Now that I live in Brooklyn, a 2-hour train and bus ride away, I try to visit and talk with my family as much as possible.
Here are some things you can do:
Make a call/Send a text: Ask how their day was or just tell them you love them. Tell them about a bad day at work to let them know you still need them. Tell them about a great day and feel enriched by their enthusiasm and support for you. You can also send pictures, random artwork on the street, you and people they know, a beautiful scenery photo, etc. I can’t tell you how much I love when my sister sends me photos of my nephew.
Cultivate shared interests: Maybe your father used to take you fishing, and now you live near a lake or river. Go fishing! Send them a picture of that bass you caught! Maybe you noticed that your siblings have an interest in something that you don’t know much about. Inform yourself and show your interest. By doing this you’ll avoid awkward conversation, and keep your bond strong while you are living away. I try to keep up with basketball because my brother loves it. When I see him I have something to talk about besides what to do to prepare for college (my specialty).
Visit them: This is a given. Get yourself on a bus, train, or plane, and see them in person. Your family looks forward to it and will take care of you when you’re there. Instead of a spring break that leaves you broke and hungover, stay with your parents and visit old haunts. Bring a friend with you to share those comforts of home. The great thing about going to my parents’ house is coming home with food. Parents will often send you home with food and goodies, just to show their love.
Cook with them: Here is more about food because in all cultures food is the soul of the family. You get to talk, or not talk, and feel the warmth of family love all around you as you cook with loved ones. Time seems to inch and everyone, everything, feels vivid and alive with energy. If you can’t cook with family, then call your mom or dad to see what they are making for dinner. With webcams you can still cook “together”, or you can send them a picture of their famous meal, made by you.
I know you may live far from parents, states or even countries away, but there are little ways we can keep in touch with family and make time for them. We can always craft a little message to show we are thinking of them. Your soul will thank you, and your family, too!
How will You make time for your family today?
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Photo Credit: Ryan McVay