How to Make a Family Resolution

Can you believe we are already one week into the new year?

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes. And as the girls get older it seems to keep passing by faster and faster. I want to hold on to time… Hold on to precious moments… Hold on to my family as I know and love it…

Yet as I was busy writing out my New Year’s resolution last week, I realized that in just 18 months Alexandra will be turning 18 and be off to college. Our time together as a family of five, living under the same roof and interacting with each other every day is quickly coming to an end. Our family will be forever changed, of that I have no doubt.

I’d like to slow down time so I can savor her presence a little longer… But that I cannot do.

So I decided that this year, in addition to making individual new year’s resolutions we should make a family resolution as well. I wanted us to come together and decide what our priorities are as a family. Our hopes. Our dreams.

Before this precious season passes.

I invite you to do the same, no matter how young or old your children are. Carve out a couple of hours to sit down with your family and brainstorm about your family resolution. Grab colorful pens and lots of paper and have fun! You may even want to create a family vision board and post it in your kitchen or somewhere where you spend a lot of time as a family.

What are some of the things you might decide to put on this list?

Do you crave more quality time as a family? Do you dream of a family vacation abroad, discovering a new part of the world? Are you committed to being a healthy and fit family? What about launching a family business?

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Family Vacation

Family Adventure

Last year we took advantage of a two week break in April to go on a ten day camping trip with the girls. Part of the motivation was that we had a young lady visiting from Italy for three months and we thought this would be a great way to show her some of the majestic parts of the United States.

Another motivator was fond memories that I have from such trips as a young girl. During our summer visits to Texas, my mom and grandmother would pack our little family into my grandma’s station wagon and leave on a magical two week journey exploring one corner of the US or the other. I have such treasured memories of these exciting trips and wanted to create memories with my girls as well.

Cris has not visited much of the US and being the outdoorsy family that we are we decided this was the perfect way to spend a few weeks together. It was a fabulous adventure and we are eagerly planning our route for this year’s journey.

It’s also been a very long time since we’ve taken the whole family to France for the summer and that is definitely going on the agenda. Now of course, I do hope that the girls will always come home for family vacations no matter where they attend college, and that we’ll enjoy plenty more adventures together in many parts of the world. But I can only plan for the year at hand.

What about you? Are you dreaming of a trip to Europe or Asia? Have you always wanted to go kayaking through the rainforest or diving with sea turtles in Australia?

Technology Free Day

We live in a digital age and most of us, kids included, have become highly dependent on our cell phones and other devices. And though technology has it’s advantages, such as finding a great restaurant anywhere, anytime, or finding the nearest gas station if you’re caught off guard, it does also lead to a much greater disconnect even among family members.

So what about establishing a weekly technology free day? One day a week where computers stay off and cell phones are put away?

We already have a “no phone at the table” rule in our house, which is mostly respected with a few exceptions here and there. But I wanted to stretch that a little bit more and design one day a week as a ”tech-free day”. (Yes this is mostly my idea but one we will all come to appreciate and love, right?) And I figured the most logical day for us would be Sunday.

Sunday has always been a sacred day for our family. When they don’t have a sporting obligation, the girls enjoy sleeping in. I cook up a huge brunch with home made hot cocoa for the girls, a giant omelette stuffed with all sorts of delicious veggies… sautéed potatoes… a giant fruit salad… pancakes or waffles…. It’s a meal we all look forward to.

After our brunch, we’ll often go on a family hike or bike ride. Then we wrap up our day with Mass and a nice dinner. It’s truly a special day. But believe it or not, cell phones have a way of creeping into this day, especially with a certain teen who seems to live her life on snap chat! I’m sure you have one of those and know exactly what I am talking about.

So the goal for this year is to put those devices away just for the day…

A entire day without cell phones may seem like an eternity and completely unattainable but if everyone is committed I suspect we’ll get there and actually learn to LOVE it! We’ll probably start with a half a day and go from there. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Home Cooked Family Dinner

I grew up in France where the family dinner is somewhat sacred and for that I am eternally grateful. Mom cooked a wonderful meal every night, and we’d wait for dad to come home so we could all eat together. My siblings and I would have a snack when we got back from school so we could wait as we never ate before 8pm. I’m sure waiting for dad left us grumpy at times, but looking back I can appreciate this special time we had to connect with one another every day. I am so thankful for this family tradition that I have adopted with my family as well.

It isn’t always easy, especially when the girls have a lot of after school activities but it’s something we strive for because we know the value of this precious time. If sitting down together for a family meal is a challenge, start with one or two days a week. Make is a sacred time, where you sit at table and put all distractions aside. Take your time and relish the meal and the people around you.

GardeningGrow a Family Garden

I live in Los Angeles where we can grow fresh vegetables just about all year long, and we’ve talked and talked about planting a family garden for years… so this is it! 2014 will be the year we pull back our sleeves and get our hands dirty, and then savor the fruits of our labor!

A Family Service Project

How about creating a family legacy of giving?

Being of service and giving back is something of great importance to us as a family. The challenge is finding a “hands-on” opportunity that we can all participate in, including our 6 year old Sabrina. We can adopt a local family in need and provide a special meal along with gift several times a year. Or serve meals to the homeless a couple of times a year through our church. And of course there are many local worthy non-profits we can support in a variety of ways, but the main goal for us is to be able to get “down and dirty” and really serve, as a family. Give of our time and talents and truly make a difference on a regular basis.  If you have some ideas on how we can accomplish this, please share!

Are you ready to create your own family resolution? What are some of the things you’d like to accomplish together this year?

Comments

  1. Valerie these are all wonderful ideas. I’m not one for personal resolutions (generally because I don’t seem to keep them) but I really like the idea of the family committing to doing something together.

    • Haha Debra you are far from alone when it comes to personal resolutions. 😉 That’s why I thought this would be a good approach. By choosing things that are meaningful to all of us there’s a good chance we’ll succeed… and just brainstorming together is so much fun and so revealing! I encourage everyone to give it a try.

  2. I wish more families would commit to family resolutions! It makes me sad sometimes to think that the family unit is disseminating, or appears to be. Great ideas, great post!

    • I agree with you Jacqueline. Families need more family time! We have too many distractions and carving out time to just “BE” together is harder and harder. I hope this idea catches on. Glad you like it 🙂

  3. I love this idea! I don’t usually do resolutions, but I think I will with the family. Anything that makes you put your heads together and get everyone on the same page is a good thing. You’re family is beautiful, by the way. 🙂

  4. There are millions and millions of families all over the world that would benefit from having family resolutions. Good idea and suggestions.

  5. What wonderful ideas that would bring great results. I think the only resolution my family ever made was indirect. All we ever really did was watch TV together… and maybe go camping a few times in the summer.

    • Thank you Jeri. My girls love to have a “Family TV night” and as much as a value our sit down dinners I indulge once in a while in a TV dinner together. It’s family time no matter what and a lot of fun. The girls are especially happy when I cave it and we have ice cream for dessert or, yikes, candy!! Family time is precious no matter what activity it centers around. 🙂

  6. I love your ideas. In this fast pace world, taking a bit of time to create and list like this really helps put the family perspective. I love the tech free day. I know some would find that difficult, but to me that indicates to reason for doing it. Of course, you know I would love the home cooked meal part… LOL. 🙂

    • You hit it on the nail Susan when you suggest that if something is hard to do it is a sure sign that it is indeed needed. I would love for all families to embrace a tech-free day… or better yet if we implemented a “National Tech-free” day! Wouldn’t that be something? Good luck with the home cooked meals.. you always share such mouth watering recipes I’d love to come over to your house for dinner one of these days 🙂

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