In my guest post The Big Picture: My Own Life Plan Method at Christian Faith at Work, I detailed the approach my husband and I take together to create a focus for our marriage and individual lives. One important aspect of our approach is including daily downloads and touch points. These were so beneficial to us as husband and wife, we’ve allso incorporated them into our family structure.
Focusing on My Family
When my oldest started kindergarten 9 years ago, we started the habit of daily downloads. Every day after school, each of my sons tells me about his day. They talk about each class, what they’re studying, homework they have, and tests coming up, and they also share stories about interactions, both positive and negative, with teachers and other students during the day.
My boys expect these daily downloads and even ask, “Don’t you want to hear about my day?” when I get distracted and take more than 5 minutes to stop and listen.
We also integrate regular touch points into our family’s routine. Pretty much every morning, we eat breakfast together while each of us does a morning devotion, and then we pray together before heading off on our days. We also make a point to have dinner together regularly, usually 6 days a week, and this time usually consists of another round of daily downloads.
Knowing that one-on-one time is also important, my husband “tucks” our boys in at night after doing a devotion with each boy individually for his regular touch point with each of them. My individual touch point is the daily downloads every day after school.
On a more big-picture level, we take 2-3 vacations as a family every year, and during this time we focus on connection and just being together. We also talk about goals and dreams during these times even to the point of setting yearly goals together. We all have separate goals, but we create them together. This time away is a sort of a concentrated touch point made up of lots of downloads.
Then, throughout the year, we check in with each other’s progress on our goals. Just the other day, my 12-year-old asked me, “Mommy, how are you doing on your goals?” A good discussion took place afterward. Our touch points and downloads seem to cultivate this sort of accountability and encouragement naturally.
Another touch point involves windshield time. Whether driving to/from a vacation spot or just 20 minutes away for a shopping trip, we rarely listen to music and usually have a discussion of some sort. In fact, we never watch a movie for trips less than two hours, and we rarely listen to music for trips less than an hour. My boys don’t even turn on (and often don’t take) their various media devices when we go somewhere. We’ve simply grown attached to connecting during windshield time.
Virus Protection for the Family
One way to look at the importance of daily downloads and touch points within a family is to consider why computer users regularly update their virus protection. New viruses appear daily, and a computer needs updated virus definitions to protect against these new threats. Failure to update virus protection can result in an infected and severely compromised system.
Daily downloads and touch points do the same for families that virus protection does for computers. Regular updates allow for a family to remain healthy and avoid infection and compromise from the outside world.
DISCUSSION: What suggestions do you have for strengthening the family?
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