This is the sixth point in James MacArthur's Functional Family speech. He has some GREAT ideas on this. Here are a few of them:
- Rate your relationships with your family members on a scale from 1-10.
- Work harder on those relationships that are ranking low.
- Pay attention to those relationships in obvious ways--spend one-on-one time together.
Actually MacArthur's ideas were so wonderful that I think I'll just throw it all out here for you:
"Talk; play together; spend one on one time with the person; send love letters, cards or notes; give compliments; try some 'surprises;' ask for forgiveness; say 'I love you' or 'I like you;' listen to the other person; ask for their help in some area of need you have; share personal feelings; and 'notice' the other person."
He also emphasizes the fact that this is you "unilaterally" trying to "feed or nourish the relationship." In other words, don't expect anything in return. This is your opportunity to serve that person. What is it they always say? "You love who you serve." It's true.
Earlier this evening, I got the opportunity to hear #1 sing with the school choir out across town at the Grotto. Every year, they have a festival of lights and invite choirs to come sing in the sanctuary. The acoustics are AMAZING!
I have never been to the Grotto, and I was dreading driving alone. As the time got closer, I found that #5 might be my only hope of a companion for the evening. #5 is a quiet kid. He's also a good kid. Let's just say he's not the "squeaky wheel." He often gets the shortest end of the stick. It's not that we have a bad relationship, we don't. It's just a relationship that needs some time and nurturing. I also knew I was going to need a co-pilot. I wasn't sure if he, at eight, could do what needed to be done. The instructions looked like this: "217N to 26E to 405S to I5/I84E...." Would I end up getting frustrated because of messed up instructions and get us lost or end up fumbling in the dark on a busy freeway? Could he handle it? Could I?
I knew I had to give it a try, and more important than those instructions was the relationship I need to nurture. If we got lost, so what; we'd be lost together. We could probably even find the fun in that because honestly, that wasn't what mattered. If we got lost, we'd miss the performance. Eh. There'd be other performances. #1 and I are rock solid; she'd know I didn't miss it on purpose. #1's a 10. #5's more like a 5. He needs this, so do I.
So, I took him along. After we got in the car, I asked him if he'd co-pilot. The numbers and letters didn't throw him off in the slightest--honestly, best co-pilot I've ever had.
We had a BLAST! We sang about [#5] the "blue-nosed reindeer" who everybody envied for his cool colored nose and [#2] the "black-nosed reindeer" who was allergic to trees and [#6] the "yellow-nosed reindeer" who got a Target gift card for Christmas. We also learned that if you put everyone's name in our family into the "You know Dasher and Dancer..." part of the Rudolf song, they fit perfectly. We had a lot of fun rewriting that song. We've been home for hours now, and the tune's still running through my head.
It was time well spent, and I learned of a talent I didn't know #5 had. What a great night!
On Sunday evenings, when I sit down and organize the week, I'm also going to take a minute to "rank" my family and figure out a "love plan."
Because according to James MacArthur, "Relationships usually don't improve accidentally."