This year on home leave, we spent a week with our son and grandchildren, time with my Dad’s family and my siblings, time with friends in our town, time with a former student, and a friend we have not seen since university. Each visit was special and relationship strengthening. So this month I want to emphasize the importance of relationships.
The lives of young families today are busier than ever before. Work, kids, church, chores, and more make it hard to build relationships with others. You barely have time to keep your marriage in tune. But as hard as it is, it is vital that you build relationships with others, too.
With cellphones and other media, there is a de-personalization of relationships. We can have instant access to people, but we no longer have as much time in their presence, feeling their hugs, tasting their food, and hearing their stories. When was the last time you received a hand written card or letter?
We need, we All need, to have family ties, friends, and some very important people in our lives.
You may start with your parents. If you are nearby, you probably already have significant time with them. Hopefully your children are benefitting from time with their grandparents. None of us crawled out from under a rock and made it all on our own. We had family who taught us what was important in life and showed us what it means to be loved. Knowing our parents and grandparents helps anchor us in the real world. Their stories of overcoming hardship encourage us when life doesn’t go as planned. Provide these connections for your children.
Some of you don’t have parents nearby. If they are still alive, make every effort to visit as often as possible. But should your parents not be able to have a part in your children’s life, find an older person or couple to ‘adopt’ as your children’s grandparents or aunts and uncles. They can be a wonderfully good reference point for your children’s growing foundations. Your church may be the first place to look for this relationship.
You should have some other friends in your life to help you stay focused. These friends may be close for a short while or for a season in your family life, or life-long friends. To keep friends, you must spend time together. It is difficult to be confidential with someone you have never shared life with. Sometimes moves have torn you apart, but with these good friends, as soon as you are reunited, you pick up where you left off, hardly missing a beat. Take the time to stay in touch.
My great treasure from this home leave is time of reconnection with my grandkids, my extended family, close friends and reconnecting with a former student and a university classmate! So precious were these hours together. So uplifting to all of us!
I believe we neglect relationships at our peril.