Good communication is at the foundation of every healthy family. Here’s how you can make that happen.
Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29
When your words are good and helpful, you are experiencing good communication. How does your family do with communicating?
Just because you all may be in the same room, doesn’t mean you are communicating.
Every Sunday evening, my 20-somethings come over for cooking out and hanging out and we usually end up watching sports on TV. At the end of a recent evening, my 21-year-old commented that we needed to talk more, and so the next week, I decided to instigate some conversations that would go deeper than the score of the game we were watching or funny snapchats they were getting on their phones.
My ideas are simple and easy and I plan to continue them each weekend when we reconvene on Sunday nights.
- Highs and Lows. Call them what you want (I know of one sports minded family that calls them touchdowns and fumbles!), but share them. Every time we do this, it gives us a look into the things that bother and excite our kids. Even though my son lives in Oregon, we do it by phone or facetime.
When our kids were little, we always did highs and lows at the dinner table and I guess as they got older, into high school and then away to college, we figured we didn’t need to do them any more. But we’ve discovered that it’s a great way to connect as adults too.In fact, my husband and I do them each night after work, as a starting point for reconnecting.
Sometimes highs and lows will be brief shares, and sometimes they will jumpstart deeper conversations. Do them once a week, or once a day, whatever suits your family dynamic.
- Ask fun questions. One Christmas my niece gave us the book If (Questions for the Game of Life), and I had no idea what I would do with it. It’s a great place to pull out 2-3 questions to ask family members around the dinner table. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes more serious, but they are always very telling!
And just so you know, we even managed to do this while a football game was on TV! We just turned the sound down a bit and kept talking.
Communication is what keeps families healthy and it is something that we must keep working on, because no family ever fully arrives when it comes to communication. It takes ongoing work, and as your family grows, you must keep looking for ways to keep talking and keep asking.
I’d like to challenge you as you start the new year to be intentional about working on building good communication in your family.