I think it’s important from time to time to sit down with all members of the family and see where everyone sees themselves in the coming months and years. I think individual goals can be a part of the process, but every family has a distinct way of being and you have to plan ahead for what you want to accomplish over the coming year.
We want to have our children experience more away from the home this year, and I believe my wife and I will make plans to not only do more day trips but also add in possibly a week long vacation away from where we live. There have been too many times we end up in our close net environment and I don’t want the girls to think that they have to always do things within an hour or so of where they live.
This will include probably their first plane ride ever. Who knows how that will go, but I believe we still have a lot of firsts left to give them in their lives, even as they hit the pre-teen and teenage years. We are also expanding their horizons with finances by teaching them the importance of maintaining a savings account and an ATM/debit card. I don’t want them leaving for college without an understanding of how to keep track of their expenses and balancing things out.
I feel so lucky that our children work on developing better social skills and learning how to interact with people of all ages and generations. This will be a goal that continues in 2010. We encourage our children to give of themselves in terms of volunteering their expertise where they can, even helping out for local shelters when it comes to knitting clothes or often babysitting other children when parents are in a pinch.
You can sit down with your children one weekend day and just ask them how they believe things are going in the family and what they would like to see happen in the next year. Dream, fantasize, stretch and expand your community outlook. Give your children experiences that you wish you may have had as a child. I know some of my favorite experiences happened when my family traveled together on those long car rides, playing games with our imagination and being able to talk about how life was going and where we wanted to be.
Embrace the fact that each child you have in your family is unique. I think there are times we want our children to be just like us- but we know that never can be the case. I’m not disappointed in the fact that my daughters both have their own personalities and their own interests that are very different than mine. I don’t tune out though- I think it’s important to be aware of what your children are doing and spend time cultivating the good qualities of what they are doing.
My family is one of a kind, as is yours- so enjoy the specialness. Make it a goal to have a great year and improve the self-esteem and importance of each member a little bit each day and week. Quality of time matters just as much as quantity of time.