Happy New Year, friends!
I resolved in 2016 to give myself more rest. Though it lasted about as long as most gym memberships, I at least took advantage of my resolution at year’s end. I chose to finish the year the way I began it—in a period of rest.
I needed it. To spend time grieving the loss of my Dad, reset with my bride, and just play with my kids. I went off the grid for these reasons.
As I took time to reflect on 2016, the phrase “embrace the moment” moved from a common cliché to a heartfelt reality for me. With my Dad doing well this past summer, we vacationed with him and captured some amazing moments both on camera and in our hearts. With Dad getting stronger, little did we know he wouldn’t be with us by year’s end.
As I continue to grieve, I reflect on what my Dad taught me. Family was his priority. That’s why, in 2017, I thought it would be good to spell out 7 ways we can “embrace the moment” as a reality, not a cliché. And please, don’t feel like I’m saying you have to do all seven. Pick one and start there.
- Set weekly date nights with your spouse. Prioritizing our family begins by prioritizing our marriage. Relationally, the environment of our home ebbs and flows on how well we feel supported, appreciated, and loved by our spouse.
We also know how hard it can be to be creative and come up with date night ideas. That’s why we created 40 free date night ideas and 216 questions for you to prioritize date night. Start by clicking here.
- Play with your kids. Don’t allow those three powerful words—“play with me”— coming from your kids to go unnoticed this year. No matter how old our kids are, play is their work. Research consistently shows that 20 minutes of command-free time a day with our kids wires their brains for healthy relationships. Enter their world and resolve to become a student of your child.
- Plan a family vacation—just immediate family. Granted, with little ones, vacations aren’t really “vacations”—they’re trips. We used many of our vacation days traveling to visit extended family the past few years. We love our families, but nothing rejuvenates and sets the tone for your immediate family than time away together.
- Go on an annual abandon with your spouse—no kids allowed. Need a vacation instead of a trip? We all do. That’s only one of the benefits of taking a long weekend away with the love of your life.
- Create a values list for your family. The Bible is very clear about the Lord building our house (Psalm 127:1). Set a values list that you can use to filter your family decisions. We created a list of 100 commonly held values to help you create your top five. You can download that here. This list can also help you connect values to discipline with your kids.
- Unplug. Anything you cannot fast from owns you. Researchers show that our screens increase dopamine in the brain the way drugs do. Don’t allow screens to own your family. You can begin by setting an e-nup, an electronic nuptial agreement, in your marriage. You can download that here. If you need help figuring out how to set a screen schedule with your kids, we have that too.
- Tuck your kids in bed each night. Moses had it right. There are four key times of the day we can use to teach our kids about God. Tucking our kids in bed is one of them. There is no better time of the day to connect with your kids at a heart level than in the vulnerability of this one moment. Whether you choose to pray with them, ask them questions about their day, or tell stories, let’s not just send our kids to their room. Use it as a quiet moment to connect at a heart level. Not every night will be a homerun. But those few minutes have the power to transform not just your child—but you as well.