Last week we celebrated Mother’s Day, but as I pondered that I was challenged to consider my own role as a father and husband. It is all too easy to see what others need to do to improve, but harder to actually see where I need to do more work! Out of that, here are a few things I am trying to work on in terms of my own family relationships:
- Spend more time together! Yes we are all busy, and the demands of being a member of the military only increases those tensions with deployments and unaccompanied postings. However, we also have choices, are we going to choose to make our families a priority?
- Remember are a role model! The example you set as a parent is going to affect the parenting skills of your children. They tend to do what you do – not what you say and are watching the way you relate to your partner!
- Eat together! The sharing of a meal is one of those things that bind a family together, yet it seems that everything else is against it. Make a stand, turn off the TV, and reorganise schedules so that you can share this important event most days of the week.
- Show respect! Don’t take each other for granted, make sure you don’t get lazy in common courtesies like “please” and “thankyou” and ringing when you are going to be late. These pleasantries are the oil to reduce the friction in the home.
- Be real! Be prepared to really be present in home affairs, take the time to listen to the hopes and fears of your children, and be involved with household chores. Take off the mask and be open and honest about your own struggles as well.
- Be patient and fair! Things don’t always go the way you want, you may need to discipline your children, but make sure you do it with love and restraint.
- Have fun together! Don’t be so busy that you forget to have fun together. Plan outings, develop your own family rituals and take lots of pictures to help remember them.
Take some steps today to become a better partner and parent and be thankful for the great privilege of being a family!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley