Saturday, July 30, 2016
I believe that life is 33% intentionality, 33% bumbling around, and 33% out-of-our-control - at least something along these lines. Nevertheless, we've got 33% intentionality and we can do something with that.
When Sara and I moved to Seattle, we happened to move half-a-mile from a community college. I seized the opportunity to apply for lots of positions at the college in order to work close to home. I walk to school everyday and we're able to keep to a one-car family.
Nevertheless, between my work day, graduate school for both Sara and I, along with raising a daughter, finding ways to connect with each other as a family can get put on the back-burner if we don't focus on the intentionality of the matter.
A beautiful thing recently has been Sara and my daughter coming to visit me around lunch time at work. It's only 30 minutes of hangout time, but it goes a long way. And by the way, Seattle rains a lot, so working through these rituals isn't always easy. It's much easier to stay at home when it's raining, but it is more fulfilling in the long run to press on towards rituals that over time are the little big things in life.
As another example, I know a couple who about five or six years ago made a decision to spend 15 hours a week as a married couple without their kids. Holy smokes! How in the world do you do that? Well, they made some decisions about the school they had their kids in, baby sitters, and bed-time. They also limited their children's clubs and sports. (Maybe their kids had to choose only one per year instead of three or four.) Ultimately, they figured out how to do it without sacrificing their time with their kids. I distinctly remember this couple saying that the level of tension in the family had decreased not only with them but with their kids. I know that life is difficult and maybe you can't do what they did, but maybe you can find ten hours or five hours a week for each other. In the end, part of this whole thing is the intentionality of it. When our spouses see that we are being intentional about connecting, then this intentionality provides huge amounts of safety and gratitude. The endorphins start to fire in relation to one another.
As a final example, I know a married couple who have a lot of money, but for a while, they only had one car, on purpose. The wife drove the husband to work every day with their daughter. It was a 20 minute drive, and it gave them the opportunity to talk to and from work. Plus, the ritual of connecting every day builds upon our sense of trust and desire. When they had their second child and his work moved further away, they finally decided to get a second car, but that couple years of driving to and from work together went a long way. Even though they don't do this ritual any more, I'm sure they are finding other ways to initiate other rituals that help them to connect apart from driving to work together. Intentionality is an upwards spiral if we keep focused on it.
So, what are you going to do with your 33% intentionality? What are the small ways that you can move things around in life to make sure to connect with family in the midst of a busy life? It doesn't have to be big. Start with something small. See what happens.
*Photo taken from Jeff Turner at flickr creative commons