Excitement and laundry are not two words I would ever pair together. Lydia on the other hand was thrilled to learn such a grown-up task. This past summer I went to Kenya for two weeks. Knowing that Justin was going to be doing all the household duties I taught Lydia a few more difficult chores. In addition to her normal chores she learned how to sort, wash and fold the laundry. She loved every minute of it! It was fun to see her excitement about serving her family and it was fun to connect with her during this time.
Through this series I have been sharing ways that our family stays connected throughout our busy lives and schedules. A lot of the things we do could be considered "extra" if you don't already do them or if you tried to add all of them at the same time. As parents though, when looking for ways to practically pursue the hearts of our children let us not forget the importance of connection through shared responsibility. Preparing meals, doing laundry, going shopping, vacuuming and cleaning, these are all parts of our life where we have real responsibility. What would happen if we could harness the time spent on these normal activities and build relationships at the same time?
Building relationship through shoulder to shoulder activity is a natural way to connect to our family members while still accomplishing things that need to be done. Shoulder to shoulder activities are not only great to develop relationships with our children they are great for building relationships with our spouse and our friends. Think about the best relationships you have in your life. I am sure that those relationships have lots of great face to face time. Times when you forget about what else is going on and just spend time with one another. I would also guess that your best relationships include lots of shoulder to shoulder time as well. Thinking through how you can increase both of these activities (shoulder to shoulder and face to face) in your relationships with your family members will help you stay connected. It might also help you get more done!
It works for our family to build connections through doing chores together and being able to depend on each other to help out or cover for us when we are unable to accomplish something. Developing a sense of personal responsibility, a strong work ethic and interdependence will hopefully have long lasting effects on our family. Connection is possible with our kids and families. It requires
effort, hard word and loads of grace & instruction from our heavenly
Father. There's nothing like it though. Nothing. Blessings!
If you have any feelings of guilt when it comes to giving your kids chores check out this post from my friend Lorrie about why chores and household responsibilities are not a means of ruin for our kids but a means of teaching and training.
If you are struggling to make connections on a regular basis or if your child suffers with attachment disorders please check out my blogging friend Kathleen's blog. She regularly speaks to issues concerning difficult connection. I was touched by her story in this Wisdom for Wednesday post.