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10 Ways To Make You Closer To Your Family

10 Ways To Make You Closer To Your Family

How close is your family?

One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge, facing the U.S. today is the breakdown of the traditional family unit. AllProDad.com states that:

“Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.”

I’m no relationship expert, but my belief is that if more couples agreed on and lived by a set of meaningful family values, and those values were alive in their homes, the above divorce statistic would go down and families would be closer.

As a man who takes my role as a father and leader of my family seriously, it is my responsibility to create a culture that inspires respect, love, trust, togetherness, and fun. If you want your family to be close, you must make it your responsibility as well. Here are 10 ways to make your family closer:

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1. Be the leader of your family!

If you have a family, whether you recognize it or not, you are a leader. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or man, mother or father, you are a leader. If you have a partner, you are co-leading, and if you are a single parent, you are the sole leader. When I was a business coach, we would frequently remind our clients that leaders have three things: Vision, Action, and Spirit. In other words: you know where you’re going and why you are going there; you are committed to taking the appropriate action to get there; and you are doing it with a spirit that inspires others to be and do their best.

Your first step in leading your family might be to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and honestly acknowledge what kind of leader your family deserves. What kind of partner does your significant other deserve? What kind of parent do your children deserve? What type of life do you deserve? As the leader of your family, you cannot leave the future up to chance. You must lead. The people around you are depending on you to do so.

2. Establish family values

As stated above, I think one of the biggest challenges facing our culture today is the lack of individuals understanding personal values, which results in a lack of family values. Part of the “good look at yourself in the mirror” that I talked about above is admitting to yourself what is truly important and meaningful to you. What type of person do you want to be and what type of person do you need to be to have the life you deserve to have? As an example, here are my personal values that I try to live by every single day:

  • Live with meaning, by knowing what is important and letting that direct my life
  • Provide value to the people around me
  • Live with integrity by walking my talk
  • Good health is the foundation of everything—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually

In relation to your own family: what is truly important to you all? What type of family do you want to be? What type of family do you need to be to live the lives everyone in your family deserves to live? As an example, here are the values or “rules” of my family, in order of priority:

  • Respect: self-respect and respect for others
  • Family first
  • For myself, my career; for my children, school
  • Other commitments
  • Being social and fun

My personal values are the rules that I live by, and my family values are the rules my family lives by. In a demanding, distracting, and over-stimulating world, our personal and family values help us keep focused on things that are truly important and meaningful to us. The more you are able to focus on things that are truly important to you, the more meaningful and fulfilling your lives will be. As the leader, you have power to make this happen.

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3. Create the culture of your home

As the leader of your family, when you establish your family values you have just taken the first step in creating the culture of your home. Your home culture is the spirit that lives in your home and it is felt by everyone who walks through your door. Most importantly, it is the spirit that lives within your family.

For me, above everything else, the spirit I try to be most intentional about in my home is the spirit of respect, love, and togetherness. It’s critical that we respect each other, are loving toward one another, and make a conscious effort to spend time together. As the leader of your family, you can make that happen. How awesome is that?

4. Be present

Your role as the leader of your home is an active role, not a passive role. The only way to create and sustain a home culture based in meaningful family values is for you, as the leader, to make sure they are living. The only way to ensure they are living is for you to be present and active: mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you, as the leader of your home, don’t act like your values and culture are important, why will anyone else? As the leader of your home, it all starts with you.

5. Live by example

In the spirit of “it all starts with you,” you must not only be present, but you must set the example. For crying out loud, you are leading the most important group of people in the world to you to greatness! If respect is important to my family, I had better have self-respect and show respect to those around me. If love is important to my family, I had better be loving to those around me. If togetherness is important to my family, I had better be making an effort to not only spend time with my family, but also encourage them to spend time with each other. As the leader of your family, you must be the example!

6. Control your schedule

As the leader of your family, you must control your schedule or it will control you. A lot of people seem to be really, really busy. When they are too busy and stressed, it’s like a badge they want to present to the world that makes people know they are really busy.

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The concept of being really busy seems to be a crutch for a lot of people. They don’t focus on their health, plan their finances, give time to people they say are important to them, or do the things they really want to do, because they are too darn busy. Well, that is flawed thinking and a bunch of baloney!

People are too busy because they don’t control their schedule and they allow less important people and things distract them from what is really important. If you want your family to be close, you must plan for them to be close. You must be intentional with your schedule and make time for the important things. You need to communicate to your partner and children so they can control their schedule as well.

7. Plan with purpose

A few years ago, a mentor of mine said to me, “You can tell a lot about what is important to a person by looking at their checkbook and calendar.”

If you know what your personal and family values are, it is easy to plan with purpose because you know what is purposeful. Are you intentional about where you are spending your energy, time, and money? Plan with purpose so you can do the things you want to do as a family and spend your resources on things that will give the greatest meaningful return. You are in control, my friend! As the leader of your family, you must plan with purpose.

8. Hold accountable

What I don’t want to get lost in this is that life gets busy. I have a full-time career, own an events business, commit an hour and a half per week to mentoring young men, and above everything else, have a family that is important to me. I am constantly checking myself to make sure my decisions are aligning with the right things.

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As the leader of your family, you must first hold yourself accountable that you are focused on the right things. Next, if other members of your family are allowing the rest of the world to push and pull them in other directions, you need to lovingly hold them accountable. If you are a parent, sometimes you flat out have to make the decision for your children.

If I see my daughter being spread too thin and not focusing on the right things, I will step in and say, “No, you are not doing that, because of this, this, and that.” Because our family values are alive in our home, she gets it. She doesn’t always like it, but she gets it. Holding others accountable is not always asked for or popular at times, but there is a difference between what is popular and what is right. As the leader of the family, you must do what is right!

9. Remind often

If the spirit of your home embodies your family values, reminders will happen automatically. Now, reminders might feel a little like accountability, but they are two different things. Accountability is more of a reaction to a situation and reminding often is simply being proactive. I often talk to my children about how important it is that we spend time together and how lucky we are to have each other. When giving reminders you don’t have to “lay it on thick,” but little reminders of your family values and the spirit you want your house to embody will keep everyone connected and be top of mind as they are making decisions. As the leader of your family, if you are living with Vision, Action, and Spirit, the example you set may be all the reminder your family needs.

10. Have fun

Imagine a world where everything you do is meaningful and fulfilling. As the leader of your family, can you think of anything more fulfilling than your family being closer, both emotionally and physically? I don’t know about you, but I want to have as much fun with my family as possible. When we aren’t together, I want to be able to feel proud that I am doing everything I can to ensure my family is having fun and is happy and healthy. When we are together, our fun and enjoyment will be maximized because respect, love, and togetherness are important to everyone and are the foundation of our home.

Your family being close is a decision that you, the leader, has to make. It doesn’t just happen. The world will eat you up and spit you out if you let it—and a lot of people let it happen. Be different and make the decision for your family to be close and take action to make that happen. If it is important to you, I promise it will be the most important, meaningful, and fulfilling decision you ever make. Be the leader your family needs and deserves!

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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