THIS YEAR WAS MADE FOR FAMILY
SO DON’T LET IT GO TO WASTE
Some of us thought we’d never make it to this moment, but here we are. We’re at the end of 2020. To use the lightest of terms, it’s been a crazy year: the coronavirus, heated politics, raging fires on the West Coast, the busiest hurricane season ever here in the East, and all of life’s usual hurdles in between. Throughout it all, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from 2020, it’s how important it is to slow down and cherish those things that mean the most to us.
Some might call 2020 “the year of family,” which is accurate in many ways and untrue in others. Yes, we’ve all spent a lot more time at home this year with the family we see every day, but we’ve also been away from extended family we don’t live with, and that’s been challenging. I certainly fall into both those categories.
While I may not be able to spend the holidays with my parents and siblings, I do get to be with my wife and daughter, much as I have for the entire year. And while that time hasn’t been perfect — which is how a lot of families are feeling — I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Many families might be spending more time together at home, and yet they’ve grown disconnected with each other because of it. I’m thankful to say my family has grown closer than ever before, and that’s because we made a conscious effort to do so.
I think I’ve been ready to embrace this extra time together thanks in part to our family observing a Sabbath every week. For one full day we disconnect from the incessant distractions and just focus on living in the present. We have a no cell phone policy, we eat meals together, share what we are grateful for, and focus on our relationships. The pandemic has made that even more crucial, and my daughter and I have grown infinitely closer through all the board games, crafts, gardening, and drawing we’ve done together.
Everyone can make their own sabbath. Whether it be one hour or one full day. Dedicate a specific time where you commit to your family that you are all-in, at attention, and not distracted. You will find that this time together will enhance your relationships and bring you closer. And that means when 2021 officially rolls around, we won’t feel like we’re just escaping 2020 — we’ll take those incredibly valuable moments we created over the past year and make them even better in the new year.
All the bad news around us constantly can be very distracting. We should heed it when necessary, but if we let it consume us, then we miss out on the things that matter the most. So, if you have an idea for downsizing your screen use, simplifying your family time, or including everyone in meaningful activities, then make that one of your resolutions for the new year. It has been such a wonderful experience for me and my family, which made it a good year in my book.
Head into this new year with as much hope as you can muster. I know that can be hard at times, but if you have loved ones around you, they can truly make it easier. You just have to let them. You can end the year great and make all the years to come even better.
– Josh Whisler