Last week I discussed the fifth step in Cheryl Richardson’s book “Take Time for Your Life”. This week I will be looking at Step 6 and applying it to how we can help ourselves become better parents or the parents we want to be.
Step 6: “If you feel lonely or isolated, learn how to surround yourself with high-quality relationships that support, challenge and encourage you to be your best”.
I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in a small village in Scotland and remember my childhood with the fondest of memories. There were only 3000 people in this village and the sense of community, even as a child, was palpable. Everyone knew who you were, everyone looked out for you and we all really felt like we belonged and above all felt extremely safe. I am sure that some of you reading this may have similar memories of their childhood and the sense of community that was had and felt.
I have to wonder if in the space of just one generation we are somewhat losing our sense of community and it deeply saddens me. There are possibly many reasons for it, one of the main ones I feel being the rapid onset, proliferation and pervasion of the internet, social media and the all encompassing effects of mobile devices. One no longer HAS to spend time face to face with people as it can be achieved virtually. Socially we think we are “there” but are we? As a result of all of this, many more people are now able to work from home thus further decreasing the need for actual physical connection. Working at home can blur the lines between work and family and mean we are available for work almost around the clock which ultimately can take time away from the family. This is bound to take its toll in many ways.
“There is a growing hunger for community” – Cheryl Richardson
There are many ways that can help make us feel more connected to our community and in this chapter of her book, Cheryl Richardson does a very good job of highlighting and acknowledging these.
With the advent of social media, particularly for the youth of today, it is important that we continually assess the quality of our relationships over quantity and teach this to our children. Vast numbers of friends and likes on Facebook and Instagram doesn’t really cut it and many of these virtual relationships are not, in the true sense, relationships at all but con us into thinking we are popular, well connected and have lots of friends.
As parents, I feel that with this seeming loss of community coupled with the explosion in social media platforms, it is especially important for us to guide and support our children to ensure that they don’t lose the sense of community they may still have and prevent them from potentially feeling isolated and lonely in this huge and vast digital world.
When you take time for your life and you take time for the meaningful relationships within it, you will give yourself the opportunity to deepen the connection and learn to experience the joy from living well. Teaching this to our children and ensuring that they have the opportunity for this in their lives his has become a relatively new role for parents and one which I feel is growing more important quite literally by the second. The concept of “mindful” living and developing the skills of Mindfulness is even more important now than ever before.
What are you going to do to ensure that you maintain the sense of community you have or broaden the connections you have within your community? Perhaps it might be as simple as having a device free day or minimizing the number of times you check your email and texts in a day? It might mean that you as a family spend some time on the weekend scouring your local park for litter and garbage and disposing of it accordingly? Or, it could be that as a family you go about acquiring some information and tools to assist you, collectively, to becoming more mindful?
I look forward to hearing from you.
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Registration is now open for my fall Adlerian Parenting Classes, please look under EVENTS and Schedule on our web site for more details. Please feel free to mention this to any friends you know who may be interested.