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I’m not one for resolutions, but I do like beginnings and appreciate a bit of direction to get motivated. To me, resolutions can seem restrictive in their binary results of either succeed or fail. I am more apt to actually make progress when I start to set to work on a broad plan. With that in mind, I am setting up the theme for our upcoming personal projects.
Last year was all about the theme, “Do Good” and by keeping those two words at the front of my mind, I was able to create my Within The Keep project.
Going forward into 2017 I am going to focus on “Build Strong” because I think that we can and should continue with the good we are doing. This unfolding year will be about strengthening our family team. It isn’t that we are not a close or loving family already. No, it’s just now that the kids are older, I am finding life is less about simple crisis management and more about building on the bonds we have cultivated.
The kids are really their own people with individual interests now, instead of little ones who go along with whatever the adults decide. Like any family, we have distinct personalities that make up our team. Yet, the funny thing is, despite our differences, we all have one thing in common, the need for “me time.”
So how are we going to build a strong team family in 2017 if we need time apart to thrive?
Good question! For us in the past, it’s usually meant looking forward to holidays in a new location full of fun distractions. However, this year, with a new pool in the backyard and a high-schooler who is playing cricket three times a week, we won’t be going on any exotic family vacations for a while. Yet, when we have had staycations in the past, we would find that for us, there could be too much togetherness. So I took an idea that commonly refers to design theory and put it to work for my family…Less is more.
No really, for a family like ours, little by little, together, with our own breaks in between is how we will thrive. And ten minutes is all we need to start. When I was little, my mother would stop randomly during the day to have what she called, time out for loving, when we would just drop the chores and cuddle. Now as a mother myself, my favourite time with my own children is when we read together.
Anyone can find ten minutes in their busy day to focus on family. Those ten quality minutes will lead to more. To build anything, one must start piece by piece, little by little.
It is already working for us. The other day we went to the Bupa Family Day to celebrate the cricket season at the MCG. Gemma had earned the opportunity to experience a master class in bowling and batting with two modern day cricket greats, Peter Siddle and Alyssa Healy! I realised that a master class is like our family plan. That short session spent with Peter and Alyssa was quality time, and Gemma came away with an amazing new level of confidence and skills. The pieces they placed will become part of Gemma’s whole cricket career as she grows.
In the car on the way home, Kieran described it as the best day ever. He did not get the master class and he isn’t really all that interested in cricket, so I wanted to know what it was that made it great for him. The answer was simple; it was the little moments with us. We were not forcing anyone to do everything together, but we did come together as a family.
There were so many little activities that we could do, from plastic cup pyramid stacking competitions to nail biting rounds of jenga and connect four. We even had a few overs of backyard cricket under the shade of the MCG. We rotated around activities, spending time with each other as different pairs. Sometimes we were just a cheerleader for the others as they played, giving us time to be alone while still being part of the whole.
These small moments are what remind us why we are good together and exactly what makes us a stronger team.
Our family might sound a bit like yours, or maybe you all are the complete opposite of us! Whatever your family looks like, you can find more ideas on how to build a strong team family on the website that Bupa has created just for that purpose.