Communicating with Family

Our families come in various formations. Sometimes we are parents with young children; a parent with children; parent(s) with adopted children; parent(s) with parent(s) and children; parent(s) of grown children; aunt or uncle with nieces and nephews; grandparent(s) with grandchildren; parent(s) taking care of parent(s); sister(s) with siblings; brother(s) with siblings; stepfamilies; blended families; and so on... Whatever the formation, communication on a somewhat regular basis is what keeps families connected.

Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

One of my favorite ideas for communicating and “starting children off on the way they should go…” with your family is using a form of family meetings. Jane Nelsen, (Positive discipline, revised edition, 2006) was one of the first authors I read on the topic of family meetings back in the 1990’s. An immediate take-away for me was the notion of holding regular family meetings. In such meetings, imagine family members sitting in a circle then doing these three processes:

  • Sharing celebrations and compliments
  • Sharing issues or concerns
  • Planning a family outing, meal, etc.

What I love about this idea, is that it begins with what IS going well. It sets the tone of the conversation, and it almost forces family members to think about something others did well, and share it aloud. If this is of interest, here’s a link that might be helpful:

God teaches us a great deal about families. They are the lifeblood for furthering creation, for working through difficulties—sometimes being the difficulties themselves!  Yet, no matter where we go or what we do, our families are connected to us. How will you connect or reconnect with yours?

Mark 3:25  If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If it’s been awhile—challenge yourself to initiate the reconnection with estranged family members. Think about your communication with those family members near you. Do they know what you appreciate? Have you told them lately, that you love them, that you are proud of them? What are you waiting for? Connect or reconnect this week with a family member.

For love of family,

Tammy Heflebower

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