“Come on, everyone! Let’s all work in the yard together! It’s beautiful outside,” I called out to my family from the kitchen. No one budged. I went from person to person, begging each to come outside and spend some family time together. But everyone had an excuse for not joining me. “Fine,” I whined as I went out the door alone.
Once I was outside, the gorgeous weather relaxed and cheered me up quickly, and I started to enjoy my gardening chores. Soon, one of my kids came looking for me. Ten minutes after that, another kid came out, and another, and then my husband. Pretty soon, everyone was in the front yard—some pulling weeds, some drawing with chalk, and one just sitting in a chair nearby. Hey look, I thought. How did that happen?
It turns out I have a magnetic superpower! And you do, too. This is how to make it work for you.
1. Do your thing, happily!
A happy mom is like a magnet. She pulls her family in. Your family doesn’t want to be bossed around or guilted into an activity. But they do want to be around you, especially when you’re happy! So go and do the thing you want to do (start playing Solitaire, watching that movie, or washing the car), and watch your magnetic power start to work.
2. Make room for others to join you.
When family members wander in to find you and ask what you’re doing, be ready to welcome them! Teach them to play! Give them a sponge! Or ask them to pull up a chair so you can chat.
3. Show your work ethic.
One day, I was determined to scrub every bathroom in the house from top to bottom. At some point during the second bathroom, my son wandered in, asking if I was still cleaning. “Yep!” I replied happily. “Can I help you?” he asked. Umm, yes sir! Later on, I thanked him for helping me finish the bathrooms. He said, “You were working so hard; I didn’t want you to have to do it all by yourself.” And I knew if I had demanded it, there’s no way he would have agreed.
4. Choose honey over vinegar.
You know the old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?” Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to create a special family time that I get pretty vinegary when they don’t cooperate. But is showing my disappointment going to help the situation much? And do I really want them to participate out of guilt?
Using “honey” means choosing to proceed in your day with a good attitude, with an understanding perspective, and with the hope that maybe things will come together later. It’s this kind of cheerful outlook that will be the very thing to draw your family members in.
How do you get everyone to come together for some family time?