But, there are other things that should go along with faith in keeping a family closely connected. Things such as communication.....and a feeling of belonging.....a feeling of being a part.
Communication is adequately defined as in exchange between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, and behaviors. But communication only happens if it is between two individuals. We can communicate with a person, but unless information is received and reciprocated, it's as if no communication has taken place.
We laugh in our family because our third child....son, Jacob...can be sitting around the dinner table with us, be present and listening (so we think) to the conversation, yet he will not know anything we've talked about! It's a running joke! And, he really doesn't care. :) He says that he just tunes out those family meal talks.....doesn't see the point! Ha! I call it the 3rd child syndrome because I've heard of many 3rd children that are that same exact way. Perhaps it's because they never felt like they had any input, so just knew they didn't have to listen.....they'd just be told. Maybe so!
The point is, we can't force communication on people. It must be something they want to do. They must see that it's important to them, but also see that it is important to others.
Communication within a family, even with a family member who seems not to care, is of vital importance in keeping a family closely connected. Here's why:
1. Communication shows that you care. It shows love.
2. Communication keeps relationships close. If we don't communicate with one another, we can't be close. There's no way to keep close without it.
3. Communication informs. It's not enough to think someone knows something that is going on in a family. We must tell them. YOU must tell them.
4. Communication is a two-way street. If you want people to care about you, care about them. It's really that simple.
5. Communication shows people they matter. One of the worst things that can rear its ugly head in a family unit is favoritism. Favoritism is wrong - no matter where it is. In a family, maybe there will be some that you talk with more than others. Maybe some will be closer. But the favoritism, exclusion, obvious preferred treatment of one over another will cause nothing but damage to your family. Be careful how you treat one another.
My husband once heard a lesson about communication. It had to do with church announcements, and the speaker said that it took fourteen times before an announcement would be seen or heard by the church. FOURTEEN TIMES! That's a LOT of announcing! Or is it? Yes it is, but really....no it's not. I think about hearing announcements with a toddler in my lap for about 10 years. I'm pretty sure it would have taken fourteen times to get it straight! Sometimes we're not listening. Sometimes we're distracted. Sometimes we fail to listen, fail to look, fail to ask. It's up to us to get informed, yes, but we have to be informed by someone.
In your own personal family, it may be good to have family meetings. We have done those and still do for some things. Maybe it will be informal meal-time announcements and thoughts. Maybe if your family is gone, it will be a newsletter (Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, Robin, for doing this for my husband's large family!). Maybe it's a Facebook group, an email group, a chain letter. Even a text or message, just to communicate. I've found that sending messages to my teens via email, text, Twitter, etc. is a lot of fun! They seem to like it, too. If you have young children, send a note in their lunchbox. Put a note on their bathroom mirror. (Lipstick writing is fun and boys think it's hilarious!). Do something spontaneous!
The key is talking. Learning. Sharing. Getting connected. The key is feeling a part. Belonging.
Take the time to communicate with your loved ones today. It's so worth it!
Proverbs 16:23-24A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.