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Thinking about how to claim time as a family value, when we're feeling like we are barely keeping up with what we're supposed to do, may feel overwhelming. But the process of thinking is actually the first step. Small, intentional steps, made with faith and hope, can make change.
Talk about time: a starting point for families. Some families will be drawn to analysis. If so, you might make two lists. One will list how family members spend their time in a typical weekday. The other will list how family members most enjoy or value spending their time in a typical weekday. Compare lists and discuss how to bring them into closer harmony. Other families may prefer a different starting point. Start by thinking about moments during a weekday that feel particularly good or in sync with family values or what is enjoyable to do. Dwell deeply on those moments and figure out what makes them happen. Use that as the starting point for discerning how to align how we spend time with what we value. Either approach will work. (See Let's Talk About Time/Money Balance for more ideas.)
Recognize that we can't do it all. We are a part of the very culture that oppresses us with speed, complexity, doing more, multi-tasking and all else that makes family life frenetic. We absorb messages from our culture, media, and peer groups about what our values should be. We need to sort out what makes us happy—both as individuals and as a family. And we need to know that we can't do it all. Making time for family meals may mean forgoing the after-practice pizza with friends on the fly. There is loss and gain in the choices we make. But as families we can decide how to strive for balance. We can have faith and deep belief that families matter. And we can claim time as a family value without eschewing all that makes our fast-paced lives attractive.
Take a stand. Decide on some changes, and take a stand. What is one change your family can make that will cut down the constant intrusions into family time from the outside world? Here are some ideas:
Cherish our families. The best way to cherish our families is to build strong families. The well known psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers suggests that families who live by the following ten principles grow to be strong:
For more information contact families @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
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